Mónus, Ferenc (2018) Competing activities as measures of fear and vigilance. Animal Sentience 15(8)
Guy Beauchamp, What can vigilance tell us about fear?
In animal behavioural research on vigilance, visual signs of alertness are usually used to estimate perceived risk (an internal “fear” state) of free-ranging animals. Different measures of vigilance and competing activities (e.g., predator vigilance, conspecific vigilance, feeding, food handling) provide clues for better understanding vigilance behaviour. How efficiently does an animal in a vigilant/non-vigilant posture devote attention to threats or invest in other activities, such as searching for or handling food? Several species regularly withdraw to a sheltered spot when feeding in an abundant food patch, spending short periods in complete safety. Frequencies of feeding interruptions or false-alarm flights provide alternative measures of fear. I review how these phenomena may relate to the human understanding of the threats animals may perceive.