Baby Birds Can Recognize Parents' Songs While Still In The Egg

NSP Faculty in the News: Mark Hauber, Professor of Animal Biology

Date

01/03/19
Probably working on their harmonies: zebra fiinches are smart birds, partly because their learning starts while they are still in the egg, including distinguising their parents' song from other birds. ADWO/SHUTTERSTOCK

IFL Science! (London, Jan. 3) – Baby birds can recognize parents’ songs while still in the egg, according to new research performed at the U. of I.

"...The idea that birds can be influenced by sounds while in the egg remains a controversial one among scientists. Dr Mark Hauber of the University of Illinois told IFLScience, 'We've been fighting...with other avian neurobiologists' over the question of whether birds can even process noises from outside the shell. 'They have always assumed that embryonic songbirds (or even young nestlings) do not have good enough hearing to perceive songs and calls of even their own parents,' Hauber said..."

Read more...

NeuroReport, "Neural activation in response to conspecific songs in zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) embryos and nestlings"