Chicks Dig a Smart Bird - Mockingbird That Is...

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A team of scientists in the US have discovered a correlation between weather volatility and the complexity in the various songs of mockingbirds. Carlos Botero at Cornell led
a team to investigate the relationship between climate and birdsong.

"As environments become more variable or unpredictable, song displays become more elaborate," said Carlos. "Survival and reproduction become more complicated when weather patterns are unpredictable because you don't know when food will be available or how long it will be around,"

Since complex songs indicate high intelligence, and females are choosier in demanding environments,
the male birds show off their big brains via song in order to attract a mate.

Botero searched sound archives worldwide and recorded songs himself in the wild. Then he and his
team compared those songs to climate records associated with the area it was recorded in. The
team found that species subject to more variable and unpredictable climates had more elaborate song displays.

The findings were published in the May 21 issue of Current Biology

Last updated: May 28, 2009




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