Posts Tagged ‘Songbirds’

Birds Communicate Reproductive Success In Song

June 19, 2008

Some migratory songbirds figure out the best place to live by eavesdropping on the singing of others that successfully have had baby birds — a communication and behavioral trait so strong that researchers playing recorded songs induced them to nest in places they otherwise would have avoided.

This suggests that songbirds have more complex communication abilities than had previously been understood, researchers say, and that these “social cues” can be as or more important than the physical environment of a site.

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Birds Babble Like Babies

May 5, 2008

Baby birds are like baby humans on at least one score: they both babble. But as songbirds grow up, they make the switch from babbling to singing by flipping to a different brain circuit, new research finds, suggesting a new view of human infant behavior.

We should toss out the idea that babbling is an undeveloped adult behavior, said study leader Dmitriy Aronov of MIT. “Maybe we should think of these behaviors as being the presence of exploration … of creativity,” he told LiveScience.

Some scientists have thought that a single brain pathway matures to produce song in birds. In the study detailed in the May 2 issue of the journal Science, however, male zebra finches were found to use one circuit for babbling as juveniles and another for singing as adults.

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