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Articles on Songbirds

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Missing a field season can be devastating if your research subject is melting away. Karen Lloyd

From permafrost microbes to survivor songbirds – research projects are also victims of COVID-19 pandemic

Three scientists describe the fieldwork they've had to delay in 2020 because of the pandemic. These are setbacks not just for their careers, but for the body of scientific knowledge.
The New Zealand robin is a small and ordinary-looking songbird, but it can take down enormous invertebrate prey and hide morsels for later consumption. Supplied

A small New Zealand songbird that hides food for later use provides insights into cognitive evolution

The New Zealand robin has learnt to hide left-over food for later consumption, and it turns out that male birds with the best spatial memory have the greatest breeding success.
Vocal learning in birds is a lot like how people learn language. Alexandra Giese/Shutterstock.com

Complex birdsongs help biologists piece together the evolution of lifelong learning

Could mating preferences, like females preferring males who sing complex songs, affect the evolution of learning? Insights from birds could have clues for how people learn throughout their lives.
Bank swallows, like this juvenile, may become endangered unless habitat loss and other threats are reduced. Shutterstock

How birders helped pinpoint hotspots for migratory bird conservation

A collection of millions of bird sightings has identified the best places to invest in conservation.
Like many migratory songbirds, tree swallows are experiencing population declines in parts of their breeding range. Julia Baak

Birds wearing backpacks trace a path to conservation

Effective conservation of migratory songbirds requires an understanding of how populations are connected between seasons. The challenge is being able to track individuals throughout the entire year.
Pied butcherbirds, such as this one, sing solos, duos and trios. © Duade Paton

Birdsong has inspired humans for centuries: is it music?

Is birdsong simply a hard-wired, functional, primitive sound – or could we call it 'music'? Australia's pied butcherbirds show there are surprising overlaps between birds' and humans' musical abilities.

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