Today we get the stunning news that birds can smell predators. Some overwrought scientists ladled ferret smell into nest boxes of Blue Tits in Spain. Eight-day old chicks were living in the nests at the time. The parents of the chicks were afraid to go into the boxes to feed the chicks after the fraud.
Really. Probably thought there was a ferret in there. Silly birds.
The ingenious scientists deduce from video cameras aimed at the nest box that, “birds are able to detect the chemical signals of predators.” The evidence? The parents flew to the nest box as often as they did before the fraudulent ferret odor, but went into the nest box less frequently and left quickly. I wonder why.
Oh, wait. The scientists figured that out also. “By spending less time in the nest box, the parents lessened the risk of predator attack while still feeding their chicks.”
Five days later, afraid the mendacious ferret smell might be losing vitality, the demoniac scientists freshened it up, just to see if the ferret perfume, “. . .had an effect on the chicks’ physical condition.” According to the intrepid scientists, it did not.
They forgot to ask about the psychological condition of the family.