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.

Monday, 29 July 2019

Bird embryos respond to adult warning calls inside their shells

JULY 23, 2019 REPORT

by Bob Yirka ,

A pair of researchers with Universidad de Vigo has found that yellow-legged gull embryos respond to parental warning calls by vibrating inside their shells. In their paper published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, Jose Noguera and Alberto Velando describe their study of the gulls in their lab and what they learned.

Prior research has shown that embryonic birds, amphibians, reptiles, and even insects receive sensory informationthat helps them prepare for the harsh reality of the real world. In this new effort, Noguera and Velando have found evidence that yellow-legged gull embryos hear the warning cries of their parents and respond to them. They also found that hearing adult warning cries resulted in chicks with physical and behavioral changes, as well.

The experiments by the researchers involved collecting 90 gull eggs from nests along the shores of Sálvora Island and bringing them back to their lab for testing. They separated the eggs into individual three-egg clutches and incubated them. The researchers then pulled two of the three eggs from each incubator and exposed them four times a day to either recorded adult warning sounds or silence.

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