News Archive 2009-2018

How Sparrows Learn to Sing: Kent Island Researchers Publish Pioneering Study Archives

Savannah sparrow on Kent Island. Still from Youtube video by Dan Mennill, University of Windsor, ON

A team of postgraduate researchers at US and Canadian universities has published a groundbreaking study about songbirds, using several years worth of data collected at the Bowdoin Scientific Station on Kent Island. To gather their data, the scientists set up solar-powered speakers and sound recorders on the island, broadcasting distinctive song patterns to wild birds and recording their responses.

The paper, published in the journal Current Biology, provides the first experimental evidence that wild birds—in this case Savannah sparrows—learn how to sing based on sounds heard in early life. They also made a short Youtube video about their project.