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.

Wednesday 15 August 2018

Tweets going viral: birds can 'learn second language' from peers

The Australian fairy wren can master the meaning of a few key ‘words’ by listening to other species

Associated Press
Fri 3 Aug 2018 03.19 BSTLast modified on Tue 7 Aug 2018 04.53 BST

Birds can learn a second language by listening to the tweets and chirps of other birds, helping them to find out when a predator is approaching, scientists have found.

Wild animals are known to listen to each other for clues about lurking predators, effectively eavesdropping on other species’ chatter. Birds, for example, can learn to flee when neighbours cluck the equivalent of “hawk!” — or, more precisely, emit a distress call.

The fairy wren, a small Australian songbird, is not born knowing the “languages” of other birds. But it can master the meaning of a few key “words”, as scientists explained in a paper published in the journal Current Biology.

 “We knew before that some animals can translate the meanings of other species’ ‘foreign languages,’ but we did not know how that ‘language learning’ came about,” said Andrew Radford, a biologist at the University of Bristol and co-author of the study.


No comments:

Post a Comment