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Bird Song Learning in an Eavesdropping Context. - Phil Conroy, Lesley MacDonald, Val Schmidt, Kate Strangway. Background. Beecher His research: Social interaction in bird song learning (2005) The role of unshared song in singing interaction between neighboring song sparrows (2005)

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bird song learning in an eavesdropping context

Bird Song Learning in an Eavesdropping Context

-Phil Conroy, Lesley MacDonald, Val Schmidt, Kate Strangway

background
Background
  • Beecher
    • His research:
      • Social interaction in bird song learning (2005)
      • The role of unshared song in singing interaction between neighboring song sparrows (2005)
  • Other papers for their research:
    • Peter Marler, 1970
slide4

Previous research has led to two main hypotheses:

    • Direct interaction
    • Social eavesdropping
method
Method
  • 8 song sparrows (3-4 days post-hatch)
  • Tutoring began day 15
    • 4 hours/day for 15 days
    • All daylight hours after for another 30 days
  • 2 Phases

Figure 1 – Simple diagram of both Phase 1 & 2

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0003347207000516

method cont d
Method Cont’d
  • Phase 1:
    • Separated into two rooms
    • Exposed to two adult tutors
    • Rotated between rooms every 4 days
    • Began singing ~day 60
    • 5 month hiatus of tutors
      • Kept in sound proof room
method cont d1
Method Cont’d
  • Phase 2:
    • Tutoring resumed end of 5 months
    • Only used 2 of original 4 tutors
  • Half subjects had cloth between them and tutor for 1 day of 4 day cycle; day 2 in chamber but tutor was heard over loudspeaker
    • For other 2 days, heard nothing and as in original cage
slide9

Figure 2 - Procedure of Phase 2

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0003347207000516

conclusions
Conclusions
  • Learn more from eavesdropping
    • Average 1.55-3.88 songs learned
    • Limited songs to learn
major findings what can be done with this knowledge
Major Findings: What Can Be Done With This Knowledge?
  • Behavioral reasoning
  • Improving conservation efforts
  • Parallel to children
references
References
  • Beecher, M. D. & Burt, J. M. 2004. The role of social interaction in bird song learning. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 13, 224e228.
  • Beecher M. D., Burt J. M., O\'Loghlen A. L., Templeton C. N., Campbell S. E. 2007 Bird song learning in an eavesdropping context. Animal Behaviour, 73,929–935.
  • Beecher, M. D. & Campbell, S. E. 2005. The role of unshared songs in singing interactions between neighbouring song sparrows. Animal Behaviour, 70, 1297e1304.
  • Marler, P. 1970a. Birdsong and speech development: could there be parallels? American Scientist, 58, 669e673.
  • http://theintrepidtourist.blogspot.ca/2011/05/africa-trip-40th-anniversary.html
our questions for you
Our Questions For You
  • 1) If song learning in birds is a reasonable model for human learning what kind of implications might these results have on current methods of teaching in schools?
  • 2) The authors contemplate that males may eavesdrop to discover potential territory. What might be other reasons for developing the behaviour of eavesdropping?
  • 3) In what ways would it be beneficial for song sparrows to learn through eavesdropping compared to learning straight from a tutor?
  • 4) Were the results of the study what you expected? What are some possible negative’s to learning through eavesdropping?
  • Discussion Time!!
    • Separate into four groups
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