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Latest Melospiza Stories

Team Of Rivals Approach Used By Sparrows For Defending Territories
2014-02-26 11:08:05

University of Massachusetts at Amherst A new study of territorial songs used by chipping sparrows to defend their turf reveals that males sometimes will form a "dear enemy" alliance with a weaker neighbor to prevent a stronger rival from moving in. University of Massachusetts Amherst graduate student Sarah Goodwin and her advisor, behavioral ecologist Professor Jeffrey Podos, report their findings in the current issue of Biology Letters. They say that Goodwin's playback studies, funded...

Having The Biggest Playlist Doesn't Make A Male Songbird The Brainiest Of The Bunch
2013-05-22 13:17:58

Duke University "For songbirds, singing a lot of songs indicates a bird is smart, but that signal is not necessarily indicative of intelligence for everything," said Duke biologist Steve Nowicki. In a series of problem-solving tests with the birds, he and his colleagues found that the male song sparrows that sang the most songs learned to solve food-finding puzzles more slowly than the birds singing fewer songs. The results are the first to show that a larger song repertoire links to...

Aggressive Sparrows Escalate Their Territorial Threats
2013-02-13 10:39:27

Alan McStravick for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online A new study out of the University of Washington (UW) seems to build on a previous study reported on here at redOrbit only last month. The previous study, out of Duke University, relied upon a robotic ℠Frankensparrow´ to monitor sparrow behavior leading up to and during territorial brawls. The UW team wanted to learn about the threat signals given off by the defensive sparrow to a potential invader. As it turns out, song...

Robotic Swamp Sparrow Helps Understand Bird Aggression
2013-01-29 18:51:58

Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online A new study has found male sparrows actually perform a little trash talk before engaging in a brawl to the death. Researchers wrote in the journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology male swamp sparrows use wing waves as an aggressive signal to defend their territories and warn away intruding males. "For birds, wing waves are like flipping the bird or saying 'put up your dukes. I'm ready to fight,'" Duke University biologist...

2012-06-20 12:07:22

iPod owners aren't the only ones who frequently shuffle their favorite tunes. Baby songbirds do it, too, a new study shows. A baby songbird prefers to learn the clearest versions of songs he hears and uses them to build his personal playlist for life. As a result, noise, from nature and humans, influences which songs a bird learns to sing and can create lasting changes to his species' top tunes, the study's results suggest. "There's been an enormous amount of interest in how...

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2011-08-11 08:31:17

While singing the same songs as your neighbors may sound harmonious, research conducted at Queen's University Biological Station (QUBS) suggests that song-sharing amongst song sparrow populations is actually an aggressive behavior, akin to flinging insults back and forth. "It's been hypothesized that repertoire size and song complexity is about the singer's ability to advertise their quality as a mate," says lead author Janet Lapierre, a visiting biologist from the University of Western...

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2009-10-21 08:19:31

It may take a village to raise a child, and apparently it takes at least two adult birds to teach a young song sparrow how and what to sing. In the first study conducted in the field to examine how juvenile song birds learn their repertoire, University of Washington researchers have learned that eavesdropping on the singing conversations between two adult sparrows appears to be a key event in song learning. The results are being published Oct. 21 in the online edition of the Proceedings of...

2009-05-21 15:34:07

A U.S. biologist says she has discovered bird songs can change as a bird's habitat changes. Elizabeth Derryberry said she made her discovery while conducting her dissertation research at Duke University. She said as vegetation reclaimed formerly cleared land in California, Oregon and Washington during the last 35 years, male white-crowned sparrows have lowered their pitch and slowed their singing so that their love songs would carry better through heavier foliage. This is the first time that...

2009-01-12 08:47:31

Songbirds such as swamp sparrows appear to sing sophisticated, hard-to-produce songs in hostile situations, a U.S. university researcher said. When challenged, male swamp sparrows escalate their vocal performance by increasing the frequency range and speed of their songs, a study by University of Miami biology graduate student Adrienne DuBois said. The findings add to researchers' understanding of how birds use signals to communicate, DuBois and her colleagues said. Vocal performance was...

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2009-01-09 12:20:00

Birdsongs are used extensively as models for animal signaling and human speech, offering a glimpse of how our own communicating abilities developed. A new study by Adrienne DuBois, a graduate student at the University of Miami (UM) College of Arts and Sciences Department of Biology, shows that the Swamp Sparrow has the ability to emit songs that are physically difficult to produce during hostile situations, implying that songbirds use sophisticated vocal performances as signals in aggressive...


Latest Melospiza Reference Libraries

38_13b7afe0aeea9510948c142fc6ad68e5
2006-02-21 06:14:22

The Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca) is a large sparrow and the sole member of the genus Passerella. Adults of this bird are heavily spotted and streaked underneath. In eastern and northern birds, the upper parts, wings, rump and tail are rusty and the underparts are white with streaks rusty to dark brown. Western birds have dark brown upperparts and dark brown streaks underneath. In some regions, western birds may have grey on the head and back. Their breeding habitat is wooded areas...

38_17c6638ef7cbd8847da3eacceeeba795
2006-02-21 05:52:07

The Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza Georgiana) is a medium-sized sparrow with a slow monotone trill, slower than that of the Chipping Sparrow. Adults have streaked rusty and black upperparts with a grey breast, light belly and a white throat. They have a rust-colored cap and wings. Their face is grey with a dark line through the eye. They have a short bill and fairly long legs. Their breeding habitat consists of marshes (including salt marshes) across eastern North America and central Canada....

38_83bcac6fe8b29f37e5288fa3b6233490
2006-02-21 05:47:43

The Lincoln's Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii) is a medium-sized sparrow that was named by Audubon after his friend, Thomas Lincoln. Adult birds have dark-streaked olive-brown upperparts, a light brown breast with fine streaks, a white belly and a white throat. Their cap is brown and has a grey stripe in the middle. Their wings are olive-brown and their tail narrow. Their face is grey with brown cheeks, a brown line through the eye and an eye ring. They are somewhat similar in appearance to...

38_a45406357ebeb98aa6bf6277bfe75d7b
2006-02-21 05:35:19

The Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) is a medium-sized sparrow with brown upperparts, dark streaks on the back and white underparts. They also have dark streaking and a dark brown spot in the middle of the breast. They have a brown cap and a long brown tail. Their face is grey with a streak through the eye. There are regional variations in this bird's appearance across its range. They breed in brushy areas and marshes, including salt marshes, across most of Canada and the United States and...

30_17c6638ef7cbd8847da3eacceeeba795
2005-06-02 08:05:34

The Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza Georgiana) is a medium-sized sparrow. Adults have streaked rust and black upperparts with a grey breast, light belly and a white throat. They have a rust-colored cap and wings and their face is grey with a dark line through the eye. They have a short bill and fairly long legs. Their breeding habitat includes marshes, such as salt marshes, across eastern North America and central Canada. The bulky nest is attached to marsh vegetation, often with leaves...

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Word of the Day
mundungus
  • A stinking tobacco.
  • Offal; waste animal product; organic matter unfit for consumption.
This word comes from the Spanish 'mondongo,' tripe, entrails.