Do Birds Have Funerals for Their Dead?

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Numerous anecdotes portray birds as mourning, or at least recognizing when one among them has died.

Birds do, apparently, have some capacity to grieve, and numerous anecdotes portray them as mourning, or at least recognizing when one among them has died, in what some have described as “funerals.”However, not all instances of birds gathering around a dead bird’s corpse necessarily indicate that they are carrying out a"funeral" in the sense that humans define them.

Snopes readers asked us to determine if birds hold funerals for their dead, and the answer is as complex and wide-ranging as there are birds in the sky. Some readers shared a link of what could be black vultures, or another kind of dark-colored bird, gathering and spreading their wings as they see a dead bird on the road. The postWe don’t know for sure what is happening in this clip.

While the report itself doesn’t explicitly describe these actions as a funeral, lead author Teresa Iglesias told that the word in the headline is used, “only to the extent that it is an animal paying attention to another dead animal.”I do not wish to imply anything about the occurrence of an emotional or cognitive response by using the word 'funeral.' The use of the term in the title is due to the fact that it has been used to describe animal responses to their dead in many other species and I wanted to make sure this work could be linked to those anecdotal observations.

 

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