[Tweeters] those fascinating fairy-wrens

Devorah the Ornithologist birdologist at gmail.com
Thu Apr 28 02:03:26 PDT 2016


hello everyone,

you may recall that i wrote about superb fairy-wrens and how mother birds
teach their offspring a "vocal password" which allows the parents to avoid
feeding the chicks of cuckoos:

https://medium.com/@GrrlScientist/sing-for-your-supper-fairy-wren-chicks-must-sing-vocal-password-for-food-grrlscientist-163d1fd2be45#.uu1auq98u

well, now a new study was published recently that explores this "in the
egg" learning phenomenon further. this study looked at a close relative,
the red-backed fairy-wren, and found something quite similar:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/grrlscientist/2016/04/27/baby-fairy-wrens-learn-mothers-calls-before-hatching/

except ... this new study provides data that suggest two things: first,
learning whilst an embryo may be more widespread in songbirds than ever
before thought, and second, that "vocal passwords" might actually NOT be
for the purpose of avoiding feeding cuckoo chicks. so why did this "in the
egg" learning phenomenon evolve?

those who are interested in reading more about red-backed fairy-wrens might
enjoy this piece, where duet singing appears to strengthen the pair bond in
these fascinating little birds:

https://medium.com/@GrrlScientist/birds-sing-duets-to-reduce-cheating-grrlscientist-6d6c9272e24c#.vev9wsvfo

that piece also includes several videos that you will enjoy.

i'm working on another piece about red-backed fairy-wrens that will publish
next week (i think), so keep an eye out for that.

cheers,

--
GrrlScientist | @GrrlScientist <https://twitter.com/GrrlScientist>
Devorah Bennu, PhD
birdologist at gmail.com
Blogs: Forbes <http://www.forbes.com/sites/grrlscientist/> | Evolution
Institute <https://evolution-institute.org/profile/grrlscientist/?source=> |
Medium <https://medium.com/@GrrlScientist>
Keep up with my writing: TinyLetter <https://tinyletter.com/grrlscientist>
Tiny bio: about.me <https://about.me/grrlscientist>
sunt lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt. [Virgil, Aeneid]
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