When It Comes To Mating Females, Sparrows Like Newer Love Song

Lady sparrows don't think much of the oldies.

Instead of swooning for the 1979 love songs of the male sparrows, a Duke University researcher says the call of the 2003 male sparrows create the wind beneath their wings.

Elizabeth Derryberry is studying the attraction habits of white-crowned sparrows. She used recordings of the male sparrow's song that were recorded at Tioga Pass in California in 1979 and again in 2003, to see how the birds would react.

Although the females responded to the 1979 recording, they had a definite preference for the 2003 song. Derryberry says a few individuals didn't respond to either song, while some females got downright excited, began arching their backs and lifting their tails before the two-and-a-half second calls finished.

U-N-C biology professor Haven Wiley says he thinks it's the first time anyone has demonstrated that any animals respond less to historical signals than current ones.


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