[va-richmond-general] Chicka-dee-dee-deeeeee

  http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4715569

   
  Research News
  Chickadee Calls Carry Specifics on Danger
   by Richard Harris 


   
  Black-capped chickadees like this research subject have a sophisticated alarm 
system for warning their flock mates of danger, scientists say. Science © 2005 

  Audio: Chickadee Calls
    a.. Hear Alarm Calls in Response to a Great Horned Owl
    b.. Hear Alarm Calls in Response to a Northern Pygmy Owl
    c.. Hear a Flock of Black-Capped and Mountain Chickadees Mob a Northern 
Pygmy Owl
  All Things Considered, June 23, 2005 · When they spot a predator, 
black-capped chickadees vary their alarm cries. The warnings help flock mates 
grasp the relative threat posed by the predator, researchers report in this 
week's issue of the journal Science.
  Chickadees use their calls to organize a defense, mobbing predators to drive 
them away. The tiny birds' call can vary in several ways when predators are 
near, says Chris Templeton, a biology doctoral student at the University of 
Washington and the study's lead author. 

  Flying raptors, such as owls, hawks and falcons, provoke a soft, high-pitched 
"seet" call. The louder, signature "chick-a-dee" call signals a stationary or 
perched predator nearby. Smaller raptors like the small pygmy-owl and the 
American kestrel -- which are more maneuverable in flight, and thus better at 
hunting small birds -- provoke more "dees" at the end of a call, resulting in 
more chickadees mobbing together to defend themselves.

  Related NPR Stories
    a.. March 17, 2003
    The Cunning Call of a Cuckoo Bird
    b.. The Call of the Wild Car Alarm

 

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