The Importance of Olfaction in Survival

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The importance of olfaction has been extensively studied in many terrestrial and aquatic taxa, and it is widely accepted that reptiles and mammals commonly use olfaction to assess the risk of predation (Amo et al. 2008; Roth et al. 2008; Zidar and Løvlie 2012). However, in avian species, its value has rarely been studied (Zidar and Løvlie 2012). For decades, many people have debated the importance of bird olfaction (Mennerat et al. 2005), even though birds possess the neurological and anatomical structures needed to detect olfactory cues (Roth et al. 2008). Evidence of the ecological significance for olfaction in birds is minimal and inconsistent with only a few exceptions; procellariformes and New World vultures.
Although it is no longer valid to argue that birds do not have the ability to perceive odor, it is still widely believed that their sense of smell is still not as developed as those of mammals and reptiles (Jones and Roper 1997). For decades, passerines were thought to have weak olfactory capacities because of their very small relative olfactory bulb size (Mennerat et al. 2005). However, with the extensive research conducted with tubenoses, it is now known that birds can use olfaction to locate food sources (Roth et al. 2008). The supplemental feeding of passerines has become popular throughout the United States, not only for aesthetic reasons, but to also provide supplemental feeding during times of nutritional stress. In spite of the popularity of
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