Everyone is Surprised as the North American Sparrows Change Their Tunes

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Everyone is Surprised as the North American Sparrows Change Their Tunes
Photo by Sergio Otoya on Unsplash

Recently, a weird yet captivating variation has been noted in the white-throated sparrow’s tunes. 

For decades, the North American white-throated sparrows were singing traditional songs (Zonotrichia albicollis), which used to end on repeated notes triplets. The first change was witnessed in 2000 when a few sparrows started ending the song on two-notes. 

And now, researchers have released yet another study in Current Biology disclosing about the new song type. 

As per reports, the birds do not change their tune or songs in the local regions. Ken Otter, an Avian Behavioral Ecologist from the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George, Canada, said that someone traveling from Kentucky to Vancouver could listen to a new melody picking a Kentucky accent. The song has gained rapid spread and attention from the locals. 

Otter and his team have documented the western song at the research station located in Eastern Canada. Earlier in 2005, similar research was conducted, which resulted in one out of 76 male birds singing the traditional melody with double ending notes. 

Again in 2014, the research found out that 22% out of 101 males were singing a completely new song. And in 2017, more than 92 males were recorded singing a new variation. 

On this, a Biologist from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Jeff Podos, said- “You can actually see the [transition] unfolding in real-time.” Podos studied animal communication but wasn’t a part of the study.  

Source- Science News 

The researchers confirmed the spread of new songs by white-throated sparrows through recordings. The new song ends with double notes rather than 3 notes. This survey was conducted by citizen scientists. 

Researchers say that the new song has been recorded around Quebec and Vermont. 

For more updates, stay tuned with us! 

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