The concluding comment in this article that both sexes preferred unsmeared birds doesn’t show any support for the researchers’ contention that non-UV-blocking smears didn’t impact the sexual behavior of birds.

M.J. Raichyk
Cincinnati, Ohio

The researchers had noticed that birds preferred companions of the opposite sex with fluorescent feathers still glowing. But might this just be some general affinity that had nothing to do with mating? The researchers repeated their choice tests offering companions of the same sex. This time, no preference showed up. General affinity looks unlikely then, and the researchers conclude that fluorescence probably shines as a mating signal. –S. Milius