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Bioacoustic papers in Nature

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Subject: Bioacoustic papers in Nature
From: "XIAO, Jianqiang" <>
Date: Thu, 14 Jul 2011 17:42:50 -0400
Nature | Research Highlights

Animal behaviour: Birds eavesdrop to skirt chipmunks

Nature 475, 8 (07 July 2011) doi:10.1038/475008c
Published online 06 July 2011

J. Anim. Ecol. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2656.2011.01869.x (2011)

Birds that nest low to the ground tune in to the calls of predatory chipmunks in deciding where to set up home.

Ground-nesting birds avoid the territories of egg-eating eastern chipmunks (Tamias striatus), but what tips the birds off to predator hotspots has not been clear. So Quinn Emmering and Kenneth Schmidt of Texas Tech University in Lubbock played chipmunk or frog calls from speakers on plots of land in Millbrook, New York, during two nesting seasons. They found that both the ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla) and the veery (Catharus fuscescens) built their nests farther from the centre of plots on which chipmunk sounds were broadcast than from those playing frog calls or nothing at all. The effect was most prominent in ovenbirds, which nested an average of 20 metres farther from chipmunk playback stations than from controls.

This adds to a growing body of evidence that prey animals exploit the communications of their predators — putting this communicative behaviour under selective pressure.



XIAO, Jianqiang, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow
Department of Physiology and Neuroscience
NYU School of Medicine
550 1st Ave
New York, NY 10016
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