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Warm-up benefit could explain morning birdsong

Dawn tune-up may improve sound for attracting mates

By
6:00am, August 25, 2016
Adelaide’s warbler

WARBLER WARMUP  Even in the highly musical species of Adelaide’s warblers, singers aren’t at their best with the first trill of the morning.

WASHINGTON — Vocally warming up puts more dazzle into a bird’s singing for the day, a new test shows, perhaps helping to explain widespread outbursts of birdsong at dawn.

Males of Puerto Rico’s Adelaide’s warblers (Setophaga adelaidae) start trilling through their repertoires of 30 or so songs while it’s still pitch black. Tracking the songs of individual males showed that the order of performance had a strong effect on performance quality, behavioral ecologist David Logue said August 17 at the North American Ornithological Conference. In the early versions of particular songs, males didn’t quickly change pitch as well as they did later, Logue, of the University of Lethbridge in Canada, and colleagues found. 

Now performing

An Adelaide’s warbler belts out ringing trills that each bird varies to form

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