Wild Bird Song Learning


Manage episode 229729617 series 6834
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A Savannah Sparrow. (Dan Mennill)
A Savannah Sparrow. (Dan Mennill)


Learning in the wild. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

(Savannah sparrow song)

Despite our lack of feathers, we share the ability to learn our vocalizations with songbirds. Now, researchers have demonstrated for the first time that young birds can learn from recorded songs in the wild. University of Windsor ornithologist Dan Mennill and his team played recordings of Savannah Sparrow songs through loudspeakers to young birds on Kent island in Eastern Canada. The recordings were of songs that had never before been heard on the island. When they reached adulthood, 1/3 of the songsters had learned the new songs.

DAN MENNILL (University of Windsor):

The first bird to open his beak produced a song that was a near perfect match to the sounds that we were playing through our loudspeakers. 3


The researchers write in Current Biology that the birds learned best if they heard the songs as babies and again as young adults. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

(Savannah sparrow song)

Story by Susanne Bard


The post Wild Bird Song Learning appeared first on Science Update.

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