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An Experimental Study of Cache Recovery By Hoarding Willow Tits After Different Retention Intervals

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We allowed seven willow tits, Parus montanus, to store and retrieve with retention intervals of 1, 7, 21 and 56 days, in four experimental rooms. Retrieval success decreased over time, indicating a decaying memory for cache locations. Compared to what could be expected by chance, retrieval success was better after all retention intervals. Our results suggest that - after the longer retention intervals - this might depend on preferences for certain types of caching locations rather than memory. If both general and individual preferences are controlled for, birds retrieved significantly better than expected one and seven days after storing, but not later than that.

Affiliations: 1: (Department of Zoology, Stockholm University, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden

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