Title

Single-Song Repertoires Change throughout a Lifetime in Savannah Sparrows

Type of Proposal

Oral Presentation

Start Date

22-3-2018 9:20 AM

End Date

22-3-2018 10:40 AM

Location

Alumni Auditorium B

Faculty

Faculty of Science

Faculty Sponsor

Dan Mennill

Abstract/Description of Original Work

Many species across the animal kingdom are able to communicate with each other through many different modalities. Bird song is an auditory method of communication that has a dual purpose: mate attraction and territory defence. As a bird ages, the importance of attracting a mate and defending a territory is expected to change, suggesting its song may change in parallel. Previous studies have considered changes in song structure with age in species that have multiple song types, yet most species of birds have just a single song type, and variation with age in these species has been largely overlooked. In this study, we explore Savannah Sparrows (Passerculus sandwichensis), a single-song type species, to determine whether or not Savannah Sparrow song changes with age. We recorded and measured the fine structures of 21 males’ songs from a population on Kent Island, New Brunswick. We found that as birds age, their songs remain similar in structure but become increasingly shorter with time. Our results provide evidence in support of the hypothesis that bird song changes with age in a species with a single song repertoire. Therefore, male song length may be an age cue that other males can use to assess potential rivals, and females can use to assess potential mates.

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Mar 22nd, 9:20 AM Mar 22nd, 10:40 AM

Single-Song Repertoires Change throughout a Lifetime in Savannah Sparrows

Alumni Auditorium B

Many species across the animal kingdom are able to communicate with each other through many different modalities. Bird song is an auditory method of communication that has a dual purpose: mate attraction and territory defence. As a bird ages, the importance of attracting a mate and defending a territory is expected to change, suggesting its song may change in parallel. Previous studies have considered changes in song structure with age in species that have multiple song types, yet most species of birds have just a single song type, and variation with age in these species has been largely overlooked. In this study, we explore Savannah Sparrows (Passerculus sandwichensis), a single-song type species, to determine whether or not Savannah Sparrow song changes with age. We recorded and measured the fine structures of 21 males’ songs from a population on Kent Island, New Brunswick. We found that as birds age, their songs remain similar in structure but become increasingly shorter with time. Our results provide evidence in support of the hypothesis that bird song changes with age in a species with a single song repertoire. Therefore, male song length may be an age cue that other males can use to assess potential rivals, and females can use to assess potential mates.