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Tag: "song" at biology news

Birds brains reveal source of songs

Scientists have yearned to understand how the chirps and warbles of a young bird morph into the recognizable and very distinct melodies of its parents. Neuroscientists at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT now have come one step closer to understanding that process. They've shown for the first time how a particular brain region in birds serves as the source of vocal creativity. . .....

Migratory songbirds have a specialized night-vision brain area

Neurobiologists have discovered a specialized night-vision brain area in night-migratory songbirds. They believe the area might enable the birds to navigate by the stars, and to visually detect the earth's magnetic field through photoreceptor molecules, whose light-sensitivity is modulated by the field. . The researchers published their findings May 23, 2005, in the early online edition of the Pr...

Grasshopper love songs give insight into sensory tuning

As anyone whose nerves have been jangled by a baby's howl or who have been riveted by the sight of an attractive person knows, nature has evolved sensory systems to be exquisitely tuned to relevant input. A major question in neurobiology is how neurons tune the strength of their interconnections to optimally respond to such inputs. . Neuronal circuitry consists of a web of neurons, each triggerin...

Displaced songbirds navigate in the high Arctic

By experimentally relocating migratory white-crowned sparrows (Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii) from their breeding area in the Canadian Northwest Territories to regions at and around the magnetic North Pole, researchers have gained new insight into how birds navigate in the high Arctic. In particular, the findings aid our understanding of how birds might determine longitudinal information--a cha...

Bird song changes sound alarm over habitat fragmentation

Changes in bird song could be used as an early warning system to detect man-made ecological disturbances, new research published in the British Ecological Society's Journal of Applied Ecology has found. Although much previous research has focused on bird song and vocal mimicry, this is the first study to analyse the role played by habitat loss and fragmentation on song-matching. . Ecologists reco...

Zebra finches remember songs dad sang

Researchers at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, believe they have located a place in the brain where songbirds store the memories of their parents' songs. The discovery has implications for humans, because humans and songbirds are among the few animals that learn to vocalize by imitating their caregivers. . In a paper published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Scien...

Female birds boost up their eggs when hearing sexy song

In a new study published in the latest issue of Ethology researchers show that female songbirds can alter the size of eggs and possibly the sex of their chicks according to how they perceive their mate's quality. . The researchers played back attractive ("sexy") songs and less attractive control songs of male canaries to female domesticated canaries. When the females started egg-laying they vari...

Cities change the songs of birds

By studying the songs of a bird species that has succeeded in adapting to urban life, researchers have gained insight into the kinds of environmental pressures that influence where particular songbirds thrive, and the specific attributes of city birds that allow them to adjust to noisy urban environments. The findings, reported by Hans Slabbekoorn and Ardie den Boer-Visser of Leiden University, a...

Bats prey on nocturnally migrating songbirds

It was until now believed that nocturnally migrating songbirds, while venturing into the unfamiliar night sky for accomplishing their long, challenging trans-continental migrations, could at least release anti-predator vigilance thanks to the concealment of darkness. A new study by Spanish and Swiss scientists ?published this week in PLoS ONE ?shows that migration at night is not without predatio...

'Personality-gene' makes songbirds curious

Whether you are an anxious type, or a fearless person - such individual differences in personality could be partly due to the genes you carry. In humans, it is hard to prove the existence of such "personality genes" - there are simply too many factors that influence human behaviour and these factors are hard to control experimentally. Birds are an easier target for research and indeed, they also...

Eavesdropping comes naturally to young song sparrows

. .. In laboratory experiments, the young sparrows were exposed to two adult "tutors," one of which they directly interacted with vocally an...
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