Show Details

Flamingo Romance

March 23, 2011

Playing flamingo calls from speakers helps put captive birds in the mood to breed.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Flamingo romance…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

The Chilean flamingos at the Bronx Zoo haven’t been very successful at producing chicks. That’s because they’re from the southern hemisphere where the seasons are reversed. They often don’t get in the mood for love until fall, when it’s too cold to breed in New York. So biologists Charles Cerbini and Alan Clark decided to see if playing recorded flamingo calls from a speaker would inspire the birds to greater heights of romance. Clark explains.

ALAN CLARK (Fordham University):

We played our best guess at what romantic, sort of the Barry Manilow calls of the flamingo world, would be.

(Sfx: Flamingo breeding call)

HIRSHON:

He says the birds started breeding a whole month earlier than usual, and produced twice as many eggs.

CLARK:

And we actually had two parent-raised chicks, which was the first time that that had happened at the Bronx Zoo.

HIRSHON:

I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.