Listening to birdsong

Among certain finches, a lady bird knows when a gentleman bird is sending subtle messages in his calls—ones that people can't detect.

By Cynthia Graber, 00:00 AM April 2, 2008

A zebra finch chirps away to himself. Suddenly he notices a female bird nearby. He realizes he has an audience and immediately changes his song. Can the female tell the difference in his performance?

According to a new study, the female zebra finch knows. And she prefers the special trills he creates when he sings to her.

A male zebra finch (shown here) changes his song when singing to a female in ways that people can barely detect. But the female finch can tell the difference.

A male zebra finch (shown here) changes his song when singing to a female in ways that people can barely detect. But the female finch can tell the difference.

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Source URL: https://student.societyforscience.org/article/listening-birdsong