Apparently Black-legged Kittwakes nesting in Alaska may be using their sense of smell both to help them choose a mate and to identify their mate in the middle of a crowd.

Males extruded a different recipe of these compounds than females — “suggesting that scent may be one of the multiple clues used by birds to discriminate between sexes,” the authors wrote.

But they also found that each individual bird had its own unique combination — an olfactory “signature” — that could possibly be detected by other birds, especially their mate.

Who knew?

Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy and Desmond Shearwater. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.