|Vlad and his student apply RFID leg bands to fledgling |
chickadees in the upper Sagehen basin.
|The bear-proof feeders are wired to allow birds to only receive |
food from a specified feeder, testing their problem-solving
Vlad studies cognition in these tiny, non-migrating birds, who must remember hundreds of thousands of hidden seed locations with high spatial precision in order to not starve to death over the winter.
His work is fascinating, previously establishing that bird memory capacity (and hippocampus size) varies dramatically just over the scale of the Sagehen basin, depending on how harsh the local weather conditions are.
Vlad recently received National Science Foundation funding to expand his research and study the birds and their communities in the wild, rather than in his lab. Tracking and testing an entire community of individual birds in the wild is ground-breaking stuff, and very difficult!