Nature's big picture: social birds

Close up of data logger fitted to a great tit's leg and a great tit (Parsus major) in the wild (c) University of Oxford The tiny data logger fitted to this great tit's leg is one of thousands that researchers from the University of Oxford are using to study "social networks" in birds. Researchers fitted thousands of birds in Oxfordshire with the miniature devices and are gathering data on which individuals form long-term bonds and how groups live and forage together. One of the team, PhD student Ioannis Psorakis, explained that, as well as finding out exactly how bird society works, the study could shed light on factors that have an impact on the birds' survival. These include how diseases are spread between individuals and how easy it is for the animals to find food or mates.

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