Visual attention plays a fundamental role in avian flight but attention is likely limited whenever birds blink. Because blinks are necessary to maintaining proper vision, we tested the hypothesis that birds strategically inhibit their blinks in flight. The blinks of captive great-tailed grackles (Quiscalus mexicanus) were recorded before, during and after they flew a short distance in an open environment. The grackles spent the least amount of time blinking in flight (take-off, during flight and landing) and the most amount of time blinking at impact. Their blinking behaviour was similar before and after flight. These results suggest that grackles strategically inhibit their blinking behaviour in flight, potentially because blinks impose costs to avian flight.
Yorzinski, J.L., Walker, M.K., & Cavalier, R. 2021. A songbird strategically modifies its blinking behavior when viewing human faces. Animal Cognition.
Yorzinski, J.L. 2020. A songbird inhibits blinking behaviour in flight. Biology Letters 16: 20200786.
Yorzinski, J.L. & Miller, J. 2020. Sclera color enhances gaze perception in humans. PLoS ONE 15(2): e0228275.
Yorzinski, J.L. 2020. Blinking behavior in great-tailed grackles (Quiscalus mexicanus) increases during simulated rainfall. Ethology.
Yorzinski, J.L. & Coss, R.G. 2020. Animals in upright postures attract attention in humans. Evolutionary Psychological Science 6: 30-37.
Yorzinski, J.L. 2019. Conjugate eye movements guide jumping locomotion in an avian species. Journal of Experimental Biology 222: 1-8.
Yorzinski, J.L. & Argubright, S. 2019. Wind increases blinking behavior in great-tailed grackles (Quiscalus mexicanus). Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 7: 330.
Yorzinski, J.L., Tovar, M. E., & Coss, R.G. 2018. Forward-facing predators attract attention in humans (Homo sapiens). Journal of Comparative Psychology
Yorzinski, J.L., Patricelli, G.L., Bykau, S., & Platt, M.L. 2017. Selective attention in peacocks during assessment of displaying rivals. Journal of Experimental Biology 220:1146-1153.
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