How do birds learn to sing?
A bird sings to attract other mates. A young bird is just like a young baby. It first listens to others singing. Then it stores these songs in its memory. Then slowly it starts babbling, bit by bit, on its own.
First it will babble single letters like aa and b (called sub songs). Then it will string together the syllables to form songs (called plastic songs).
When do birds learn to sing?
Birds have a sensitive period (around 15 -50 days) when their power to learn new songs is at a peak. They listen to other birds sing and imitate them.
It is very important for birds to listen to themselves singing, as they can then modify and make changes to the song to make it more to their liking. The bird finally produces its own unique song (stereotype songs).
Birds do not have vocal cords like humans. They have a syrinx (tube) which is located below the trachea. The syrinx breaks into two branches and enters the lungs. Twelve muscles regulate the syrinx which vibrates and produces various vocal sounds of different pitches.
Did you know:
- No matter how much you try, you can never stop a bird from learning its own species’ song.
- Birds use the air they breathe to produce songs.
- The White crown sparrow never copies any other bird’s songs.
- The songbird learns to sing only from its father.
- If a bird does not sing an attractive song, it won’t make friends.
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