It seems like a silly question, but the ability to recognize friends from foes is an essential survival skill for humans and animals alike. In recent studies, researchers have discovered that birds may actually have the ability to identify humans based on facial recognition.
The Birds You Feed Might Know You
Researchers were curious about how birds interact with humans. What they discovered was that the more a human interacts with a bird, the more likely the bird is to recognize their facial features and know if that person is a person who is a friend or if that person will harm them. When presented with two faces, birds could identify familiar faces and distinguish them from unfamiliar stranger faces.
In another study, researchers examined how birds respond to vocal interactions. When presented with calls and noises from unfamiliar humans, they responded more frequently than to calls from humans they interacted with regularly. By contrast, when presented with calls from other birds of another species, they responded more often to vocalizations from birds they interacted with often and responded less frequently to vocalizations from unfamiliar birds.
This insight into bird behavior provides us with clues to survival skills in animals. When you hear bird calls, the birds may be trying to determine if you are a bird lover or a bird hater. When you feed the pigeons in the park, you may find yourself surrounded with more and more birds if you are a regular. The next time a bird looks at you quizzically, they may just be studying your face so they can identify you again in the future, especially if you bring a bag of bread crumbs with you.
- The Alternative Daily