Nature
9:00 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Bird Talk: Not Always As Pretty As It Sounds

SMAC attacks.
Credit Photo/Caglar Akcay

Just as humans aren’t born knowing how to talk, birds aren’t born knowing what songs to sing. Take the song sparrow: Their songs are combinations of buzzing, trilling and music notes. Each song sends a message: “This is my territory,” or “Don’t mess with me.”

An aggressive sparrow mimics another bird's song, like a sort of playground argument. “Stop copying me.” “Stop copying me.” “Stop it!” “Stop it!” – until it comes to blows. Michael Beecher has been studying sparrow communication for nearly 30 years. Katy Sewall joins him in the field to start a sparrow fight.

Also this hour, the Broadway show "War Horse" tells the story of a boy’s mission to find his horse after it is sold to the cavalry in World War I and features a life-sized horse puppet. How is it done? We talk to three puppeteers who make it happen. Boeing meets with the FAA today to discuss a fix to battery troubles that have grounded the Dreamliner. We get an update from the Wall Street Journal's Jon Ostrower. Plus, a weekend weather forecast from Nick Bond.
 

 

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