which aims to spread empathy and thankfulness
by following the example set by animals and nature.
Take a look at our content and be inspired.
Birds that talk to humans
In some parts of Africa, humans and birds have learned to ‘talk’ to each other in order to ‘hunt’ beehives. One takes the honey, the other the wax. We have been helping each other for thousands of years, but why?
“The conclusion is that these birds are intelligent enough to have established a unique way of communicating with each human settlement.”
“The honeybirds willingly decided to collaborate with us, and we returned the honour”.
Honeyguides: a ‘liquid-gold’ exchange
In parts of sub-Saharan Africa and Asia live small brownish-coloured birds with an amazing talent: they are able to communicate with us humans.
They have earned the nickname ‘Honeyguides’ because they’ve been acting as our guides for centuries, helping us to locate honeycombs filled to the brim. They do this in exchange for being able to keep the wax, one of their favourite foods.
In fact, as early as the 16th century, the Portuguese missionary Joa Dos Santos wrote about this species of bird when he discovered that it was the same bird that came to peck at the candle wax of his church that then guided the local tribe to the honeycombs that hung high in the trees.
A win-win strategy
Humans like honey. Honeyguides like wax. We are able to scare bees away with smoke (by burning forest growth and leaves), and they are able to locate honeycombs with ease.
It was clear that working together would bring benefits to both species. A win-win situation! But one thing was needed: to speak the same language.
The little honeyguides are able to emit a specific call to attract people’s attention. They then fly from tree to tree to tell us where honeycomb can be found. We humans are very useful to them because we know how to scare the protective bees away and extract the honeycomb from their hives. Everyone then gets their pot of gold, so to speak: the honey for us, the wax for them.
We humans have learned to ‘talk bird’
The good thing is that it’s not just the honeybirds that summon us to go hunting for honeycomb together. We have also learned to call them, emitting a sound that is somewhere between a bird’s song and a dog’s growl. A curious signal to which these little birds respond effectively.
Click here to hear the call.
Though, what’s most surprising is that not all African tribes use the same call to claim the help of honeybirds, but in all cases they manage to achieve communication.
The conclusion is that these birds are so intelligent that they have established a unique way of communicating with each human settlement.
The feeling’s mutual
The collaboration between humans and honeybirds is a very curious example of mutualism between people and untrained wild animals.
That is to say, at no point did anyone train a little bird how to guide us to the honeycomb.
The honeybirds willingly decided to collaborate with us, and we simply returned the honour.
Mutualism occurs when two different species collaborate to benefit one another and improve their biological fitness. A very sustainable and interesting way of life.
Relationships of mutualism are crucial in nature, but as far as we know, the only comparable mutualistic collaboration between a wild animal and our species involves dolphins. In some parts of the world, these marine mammals help fishermen drive schools of mullet into their nets because, in the process, they can catch more for themselves.
Be that as it may, both dolphins and honeybirds teach us that by pooling our talents, we can achieve greater results.
Communication is the backbone of cooperation.
Learning from Nature
ANIMALS MAKE US
Leave a comment
Purpose of the collection and processing of personal data: to send the information that the user requires through the web.