1 Tahrcountry Musings: The wonder of bird songs

Monday, June 23, 2008

The wonder of bird songs

I have always been fascinated by bird songs. During my hikes in the wilderness of Western Ghats, melodious calls like the ones produced by Malabar whistling thrush, has enthralled me and at the same time I have wondered about the meaning of all that calls. I always had this feeling that there is obviously more than that meets the eye.

The latest issue of journal Proceedings of the Royal Society has some interesting facts about song birds which could be true for other birds also. A new study reveals that young song birds make their choices of building nests after eavesdropping on the songs of their elders. Matthew Betts, a landscape ecologist at Oregon State University, Corvallis led the study on black-throated blue warblers (Dendroica caerulescens), who arrive in the United States from Jamaica. Betts and his colleagues recorded male birds’ songs at nests with fledglings in a good 90-year-old forest in New Hampshire's White Mountains. They then played the recordings at 18 other sites. Young male warblers flying nearby heard the calls and apparently memorized the exact locations. They chose these sites for building nests next spring, after migrating to the Caribbean for the winter. This is the first experimental study to show that the information can override what a bird sees.

1 comment:

R Roshan said...

That's incredible. Well the mysteries of mother nature are indeed mystifying.