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.