February Meeting

Wed 10 February 2016 07:30pm

Alison Russell-French - Keep Australia Beautiful Sustainable Cities National Award for Environmental Education
Geoffrey Dabb - An Introduction to Werribee
Trevor Murray - The alarming flights of the Crested Pigeon

First up COG President Alison Russell-French will give the short presentation she gave in November 2015 during the finals of the Keep Australia Beautiful Sustainable Cities National Award for Environmental Education.  This helped COG win this award.

Next will be a short presentation by Geoffrey Dabb on “An Introduction to Werribee”.  This talk aims to show why the Western Treatment Plant is one of Australia’s famous birdwatching sites.  It draws on visits Geoffrey has made there over several years.

The longer presentation will be by Trevor Murray, a Ph D student at the ANU Research School of Biology on “The alarming flights of the Crested Pigeon”.

Animal alarm signals are often unreliable despite the huge pressure of predation. However, a newly discovered acoustic alarm produced by the fleeing of several species of pigeons and doves, are suggested to be innately reliable. It is not yet known how these alarm sounds are produced, or if they are signals, let alone whether they are innately reliable. Trevor used the fleeing sounds of the Crested Pigeon to answer these questions. He not only demonstrated that these fleeing sounds are produced non-vocally, but found evidence that they are signals since their feathers appear to have evolved for sound production. Finally he showed that these alarms are reliable, since these pigeons cannot flee to safety without warning their neighbours.

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