JUL 13, 2016 11:02 AM PDT

Some Female Birds Sing as a Form of Self Defense

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

There are many forms of self-defense in nature, whether it’s striking back, running away, camouflaging into the background to prevent an attack, or using the power of numbers to intimidate an enemy, animals have to do what they have to do to keep themselves safe from predators that want to eat them.
 
However, not all forms of self-defense particularly, make a whole lot of sense.
 

Female tits deal with life-threatening danger from predators by singing.

 Image Credit: Katharina Mahr/Vetmeduni Vienna

In a recent study published in the Journal of Ornithology, researchers found that female blue tits, a species of small bird, defend themselves by singing. They seem to, quite literally, sing for lives when confronted with a predator, or something that looks like a predator.
 
"We presented the nest of blue tits either with a stuffed sparrow hawk, a bird of prey, or an Aesculapian snake and analyzed the reactions mainly of female blue tits. We already knew that songbird males sometimes respond to threats by singing," said Herbert Hoi of the Konrad Lorenz Institute of Ethology at Vetmeduni Vienna.
 
Notably, the female songbirds only sang when presented with predator birds, but not the snake. The findings reveal that songbirds sing when their own lives are in danger, and not particularly when their hatchlings’ lives are in danger because snakes are more likely to go for the hatchlings and not the mother herself.
 
It’s a rather interesting behavior to be noted, as songbirds typically use their beautiful signing abilities as a means of competing with one another for dominance or for mating purposes, but capturing them sharing their notes in fear of their lives is something that has never been studied before.
 
Even more interesting, male songbirds are usually the ones that are the most vocal, but females typically prefer to stay quiet. This shows the singing behavior is also present in female songbirds, but for different reasons entirely.
 
Moreover, the researchers don’t think that the female singing is a type of distress call to alert nearby males, but rather is an attempt to alleviate stress or encourage their fellow mate. In some of the testing, the male was also in the nest and was also singing in these situations almost as if to work with the female to keep her strong during the event.
 
Future studies will have to be carried out to better understand the seemingly self-defensive behavior. It’s not fully understood why the birds go into a singing state when presented with danger, and this is certainly one of the main reasons they want to know more.

Source: Science Daily

About the Author
Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
APR 22, 2022
Plants & Animals
Microbes Could Change How Methane Gas in Landfills is Produced
APR 22, 2022
Microbes Could Change How Methane Gas in Landfills is Produced
Every Earth Day, we take time to pause, think, and reflect on what we’re doing to save and preserve the natural wo ...
MAY 13, 2022
Chemistry & Physics
How Do Bananas Ripen? The Dynamics of Spot Formation Reveal Secrets About Keeping the Fruit Fresh
MAY 13, 2022
How Do Bananas Ripen? The Dynamics of Spot Formation Reveal Secrets About Keeping the Fruit Fresh
A study out of Florida State University sets the foundation to reduce the 50 million tons of food waste per year linked ...
MAY 20, 2022
Health & Medicine
Taboo Bird Flu Vaccines Considered in Europe Amid Poultry Outbreak
MAY 20, 2022
Taboo Bird Flu Vaccines Considered in Europe Amid Poultry Outbreak
Vaccines are yet again a subject of controversy, but this time it's got nothing to do with COVID. An outbreak of avi ...
MAY 25, 2022
Chemistry & Physics
Preventing Tooth Decay Using Tooth Gems: A Look into Ancient Mayan Dentistry
MAY 25, 2022
Preventing Tooth Decay Using Tooth Gems: A Look into Ancient Mayan Dentistry
Tooth gems are returning in 2022, but they didn’t originate with Black hip hop artists and rappers in the 90s&mdas ...
JUN 09, 2022
Technology
Artificial cilia could someday power diagnostic devices
JUN 09, 2022
Artificial cilia could someday power diagnostic devices
All living organisms are made of cells, as cells are the basic units of life. Cells are magnificent little things and th ...
JUN 22, 2022
Microbiology
How Mites That Live on Our Faces are Evolving to Become Symbionts
JUN 22, 2022
How Mites That Live on Our Faces are Evolving to Become Symbionts
Our bodies contain huge numbers of microbes - inside and out. We even have face mites. New research has shown that the m ...
Loading Comments...