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BOB HIRSHON (host):
Songbird warm-ups. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.
(Human singer warming up)
Singers sound their best after they’ve warmed up their vocal chords. And the same may be true for songbirds, according to San Diego State University behavioral ecologist Hannes Schraft. He and his colleagues found that over the course of the day, male Adelaide’s warblers improved their performance of songs like this:
(Adelaide’s warbler song)
It’s really difficult to both change the pitch a lot and to also sing those notes really quickly. It has been shown that in human singers warming up actually improves the perceived tone quality, and we found something similar with the birds.
The researchers write in the journal Animal Behaviour that the vocal warm-ups could be one explanation for the cacophony of birdsong heard in many places every morning. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.
Story by Susanne Bard
Vocal warm-up by C.J. Elder