Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Boomboxes amplify predatory bird sounds and are used as cues

Date:
October 10, 2013
Source:
University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Summary:
Researchers use boomboxes in the forest to study how smaller birds avoid predators.

Using boomboxes to amplify predator bird sounds in the wild, University of Florida researchers have found that smaller birds listen to vocal cues to avoid areas populated by predators.

In her study, doctoral student Fangyuan Hua set up above-ground boomboxes mounted in camouflaged boxes on half-acre plots at the Ordway-Swisher Biological Station near Melrose.

Powered by car batteries, these boomboxes were programmed for four months to broadcast predator sounds according to a schedule that simulated when and how predators would normally call.

"Such broadcasting was to create the perception for forest birds that there was increased abundance of predators in the forest," Hua said. "We were very interested in knowing whether forest birds that are prey to these predators would use such cues and respond by altering their decision about where to breed."

The study looked at three types of predators and compared how their cues affected forest birds. It turned out that forest birds recognized vocal cues of the Eastern screech-owl, blue jay or Cooper's hawk as indications of different threats: While different predator cues altered bird community make-up, their effects were distinctive.

Researchers determined that while some bird species clearly avoided plots with feared predators, other species seemed to alter their behavior to make themselves less conspicuous.

The study was published in the June issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. It was co-authored by Kathryn Sieving, a professor in UF's Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation and a co-chair of Hua's dissertation committee. Robert Fletcher, an associate professor in the department of wildlife ecology and conservation, also co-chaired the dissertation panel. Robert Dorazio, a statistician with the U.S. Geological Survey's Southeast Ecological Science Center in Gainesville, also helped write the paper.

"Results from this study are exciting because they support growing understanding that animals are using acoustic cues to make important survival decisions," Sieving said. "Species actually listen to each other and predators' calls to detect whether a predator is lurking nearby."

While the findings apply to fear-based behaviors of birds, the study also reflects important trends in the science of human-environment interactions, she said.

This reflects an emerging field called "soundscape ecology," which is focused on understanding how animals rely on natural sounds, Sieving said.

"So, we are learning that we can't just protect natural habitat for wildlife, we have to protect natural soundscapes, too, which is difficult for us noisy humans with all of our planes and trucks and oil rigs and fracking machines," she said.

Hua is now a postdoctoral research associate at Princeton University.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. The original article was written by Brad Buck. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. "Boomboxes amplify predatory bird sounds and are used as cues." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131010204940.htm>.
University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. (2013, October 10). Boomboxes amplify predatory bird sounds and are used as cues. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131010204940.htm
University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. "Boomboxes amplify predatory bird sounds and are used as cues." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131010204940.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

AP (Sep. 20, 2014) The San Diego Zoo has welcomed two Cheetah cubs to its Safari Park. The nearly three-week-old female cubs are being hand fed and are receiving around the clock care. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins