26.3 C
Byron Shire
February 23, 2024

Does the Noisy Miner have something to tell us?

Latest News

Knitting Nannas get behind Save Wallum campaign

With porcelain tea cups, lace-covered tables and plenty of knitting the Knitting Nannas Against Greed (KNAG) headed to the...

Other News

Appointments for free breastscreen van in Mur’bah next month

Around ninety per cent of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease.

Non-alcohol options

Whether you’re going alcohol-free for a period, or just managing your consumption, the better your non-alcoholic drink tastes, the more likely you are to stick to your strategy. While I’m not a big beer drinker, at my local pub I’ll always grab a beer, and the other night I found the Hiatus Non-Alcoholic Pacific Ale, with its classic tropical aromas, but a little bitterness, perfect for the warm summer evening.

Last chance for Julian Assange?

This week the Australian journalist Julian Assange will find out whether he will be extradited from the United Kingdom to the USA, where he faces 175 years in solitary confinement for his role in revealing the truth about war crimes and the inner workings of empire, or conducting 'espionage', as America calls it.

Interview with Hayley Grace

Hayley Grace’s response to post-flood PTSD, was to look at life and healing in a different way, then come through the other side writing about it – her new single ‘Mary Jane’ is the result. Hayley and The Bay Collective, a raucous seven-piece big band – featuring a full horn section, guitar, bass, keys and percussion – will launch the song this week and play some shows to get it out there. Seven spoke to Hayley on the weekend to get her POV on The Bay Collective and recovery.

Tamara Smith announces new Wollongbar preschool

Tamara Smith MP, Member for Ballina and NSW Greens Early Learning Spokesperson, has welcomed an announcement from the NSW government to build a new public preschool adjacent to Wollongbar public school.

Save Wallum protesters celebrate community support

A localised community campaign against development on ecologically sensitive land at Brunswick Heads continues, with more than 300 protestors said to have been on site over the weekend.

Research at the University of New England is giving scientists new insights into the complex society of Australia’s Noisy Miner.

In a paper published online in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters, UNE’s Dr Paul McDonald reports that Noisy Miners (Manorina melanocephala) can discriminate among the calls of individuals – even individuals from a distant colony. This is the first publication to demonstrate such an ability in a cooperative avian species, according to UNE.

‘The research reported in the paper shows that miners attend to information encoded in their calls – an ability that could contribute to the complexity of their social organisation,’ Dr McDonald said. ‘Given that Noisy Miners call to solicit aid from others, the ability to differentiate callers may underpin the many social interactions in this species.

‘Miner society is similar to ours in some respects. A colony – typically comprising 100 to 120 birds – includes relatives and non-relatives that may all work together cooperatively. With their ability to discriminate among the calls of individuals, it’s possible that they can actually identify individuals within the colony from their calls alone.

‘The more we look at them, the more complex their society is. Through research such as this we’re finding out that they have cognitive capabilities that ten years ago we were attributing only to animals such as primates, marine mammals and elephants.’

As well as demonstrating the birds’ ability to discriminate among individuals’ calls, Dr McDonald’s experiments – using a testing procedure pioneered on humans – have shown that discrimination is based on frequency patterns within the calls. Together, these findings open the way for further exploration of the intriguing world of Noisy Miner vocal communication. By experimentally manipulating a call’s frequency components, for example, it could be possible to isolate the component that encodes information on individual identity.

‘Repetitions of a particular call by a single individual show an extraordinary degree of variation,’ Dr McDonald said. ‘So the call could contain a lot of information in addition to that which signals individual identity. It’s exciting: this work is opening up a lot of possibilities for further research.

‘I think Noisy Miners are a very much undervalued species in our environment. They’re not just those annoying colonists of the backyard; they’re actually doing things that are pretty amazing.’

Image: Researcher Dr Paul McDonald, and the Noisy Miner feeds its young (from http://fieldscope.seesaa.net)


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

NPWS wants to remove beach nudity option

For 26 years, Tyagarah Beach has been an oasis for the region’s naturist community – a space where bodies of all shapes and sizes could roam free without threat of fines or reprimands.

‘Key workers’ removed from Ballina Council’s housing project as Mayor seeks full market rents

Essential workers were the losers at the recent Ballina Council meeting when councillors actively removed the category for ‘key workers’ from their development of rental housing on land it owns in Wollongbar.

Tried catching a bus to TAFE or work in the Northern Rivers – it’s a serious challange

Getting around the Northern Rivers is no easy task without your own transport. Young people are unable to attend TAFE, and you can’t catch public transport to work due to the impossible timing of, and lack of access to, public transport. 

Community tree planting in Mullum Feb 24

Want to help locally to care for our environment and plant trees for our wildlife?