As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Songbirds have a thing for patterns

Date:June 25, 2015 

Source:Cell Press 

Summary:You might think that young children would first learn to recognize sounds and then learn how those categories of sounds fit together into words. But that isn't how it works. Rather, kids learn sounds and words at the same time. Now, researchers present evidence from European starlings showing that songbirds learn their songs in much the same way.

'It wasn't clear whether this kind of learning -- where knowledge of a pattern informs understanding about the categories that make up the patterns -- was unique to humans and language, or is a more general process shared with other animals,' says Timothy Gentner of the University of California, San Diego. 'We showed that this kind of learning is shared with, at least, songbirds. When birds learn to recognize patterns of song elements, they get a big boost in their ability to categorize those elements.'

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