Object Exploration of Garden and Sardinian Warblers Peaks in Spring


Claudia Mettke-Hofmann, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Department of Biological Rhythms and Behaviour, Von-der-Tann-Strasse 7, 82346 Andechs, Germany.
E-mail: mettke-hofmann@orn.mpg.de


Seasonality of environments is a widespread phenomenon and many species show seasonal behavioural changes as an adaptation to this environmental variability. Exploratory behaviour, an important means to obtain information about the environment, varies between species depending on different costs and benefits of exploration under various environmental conditions or life styles. It can be expected that exploration also varies intraspecifically over the annual cycle according to seasonally changing costs and benefits of exploration due to seasonal environments and/or an organism's requirements. Captive garden and Sardinian warblers were confronted with five different and novel objects in their familiar aviary over the course of 1 yr. Both species showed a seasonal peak in object exploration in spring and low exploration values throughout the rest of the year indicating that knowledge about the environment is particularly important during the time of territory or nest-site selection. Furthermore, the year-round resident Sardinian warblers were more explorative than the migratory garden warblers. Residents have to be well informed about their environment and changes therein, whereas this is less important for migrants. This corroborates earlier findings in parrots and seems to be a general phenomenon consistent across taxa.