Young canaries can learn atypical songs but recast them into adult canary syntax as they mature
For some kinds of birds, learning to sing is as much a part of growing up as learning to talk is for human children. They listen to their parents and other adults, memorize, imitate, practice, and in time are able to chirp a tune characteristic of their species that will help attract a mate.
Now Rockefeller University scientists have found that young canaries can learn to accurately imitate a computer-generated song that sounds nothing like a canary. But as the birds mature, they edit their song, dropping some elements, rearranging others, and adding repetitions and phrasing typical of an adult canary melody. The results appear in the May 13 issue of Science.
Joseph Bonner | EurekAlert!
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