About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

New studies offer the first hard evidence that birds use feathers for audible communication

Have you ever noticed the sound doves’ wings make when they take off flying? Scientists recently discovered that the sounds are not just an accident. They recorded several wing whistles from normal take offs and from when they flew a hawk shape over a feeding station. The sound of the wing whistle of startled birds was louder and faster and actually alerted the surrounding birds there was trouble in the area.

Another recent study of a South American songbird reveals more non vocal communication. The Club-winged Manakin can vibrate its wings at twice the speed of a hummingbird to make its special club shaped wing feathers "sing" when rubbed against a neighboring, ridged feather during a mating ritual to attract females.

Sources:
Are mourning dove wing whistles alarm calls?

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09277/1002708-140.stm
Bird "Sings" Through Feathers

Read more: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/11/091111-birds-sing-feathers-wings.html
From Feathers, a Violin
Read more: http://www.birds.cornell.edu/Publications/Birdscope/violin_feather.html

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