While canines are generally considered the gold standard for olfactory detection in many situations other animals provide alternatives and offer a unique opportunity to compare biological detection capabilities. Critical components in successfully studying biological detectors is not only understanding their anatomical evidence for olfaction, but also, understanding the life history of the species to better direct the potential of an olfactory task. Here, a brief overview is provided presenting a comparative viewpoint on the use of odors by birds and canines over a range of unique detection scenarios. Similar to canines, birds use olfactory information in various natural oriented contexts where odors are dispersed over a widespread spatial range. Comparing these two distinctive animal models, and current trends in physiological and behavioral assessments may open the door for novel uses of birds as biological sensors in forensic applications.
- Biological detection