February 18, 2015
Geat tits living next to each other may sing their songs at significantly different rates, more or less frequently, as compared to non-neighboring birds, according to a study published February 18, 2015 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Lysanne Snijders from Wageningen University, Netherlands and colleagues.
Great tits are territorial and use their song to signal their territory to unfamiliar potential competitors and familiar neighbors, where boundaries have likely already been established. To investigate how signal traits vary in relation to the overall social environment, the authors of this study tested whether neighboring birds sharing a territory boundary, rather than birds just flying in the area, is related to similarity in dawn song traits between territorial wild great tits.
Researchers collected song recordings from over 70 unique male great tits at dawn, during the breeding season, and compared songs between neighbors and non-neighbors.