Although birds chirping is pleasing to the ear, scientists have found that it may be useful for another reason. New studies are showing that when a zebra finch sings, the noise may give their young hatchlings insight into the weather when they eventually hatch.
It’s long been a fact that many birds can fend for themselves right after hatching. They already know who their mother is and how to survive. However no one thought that anything integral happened inside of the egg as it incubated. The study published in Science shows that different calls can change the hatchling’s eventual growth pattern and behavior as they enter into adulthood.
Associate Professor of Animal Ecology Kate Buchanan stated that the chirping signal offered by the zebra finch is being used to proactively program the offspring’s development. It can affect the rate of growth as it is related to the temperature the bird will experience upon breaking out of the shell. She added that animals have a very subtle way of communicating how the environment is going to change. With this added bit of understanding, the paradigm is shifting.
The news scientists are hoping is that animals are able to understand climate change, and not only adapt to it, but communicate the need for that adaptation to their offspring. Zebra finches are known for their vast array of sound capability. Scientists noted a specific sound used only when eggs were in their last days of incubation. They found the special sound was only used when the temperature rose above 78-degrees.
Buchanan also stated that the sound affects bird’s development, vocalization, behavior and growth rate. It also can affect a birds choices 100 to 200 days after they are hatched and go on to find their own nests. Zebra finches are native to warm climates and likely wouldn’t thrive in extreme, or even colder areas.