Fluctuating Weather Makes Birds More Flexible Singers
Mixing it up helps birds ensure that their songs are heard no matter what the habitat, say researchers at Australian National University and the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center.
When the researchers combined acoustical data with temperature and precipitation records and other information such as habitat and latitude, they found a surprising pattern — males that experience more dramatic seasonal swings between wet and dry sing more variable songs. In addition to variation in weather across the seasons, the researchers also looked at geographic variation and found a similar pattern. Namely, species that experience more extreme differences in precipitation from one location to the next across their range sing more complex tunes.