[Tweeters] Cowbird Songs: How?

Dennis Paulson dennispaulson at comcast.net
Tue Aug 9 15:06:09 PDT 2022

Hi Josh,

Cowbird song is genetically programmed, as it is in the vast majority of birds. Mostly the birds that learn their songs are Oscine passerine birds, the “songbirds.” Cowbirds are songbirds, but I guess along with their brood-parasitic habits, they have reverted to a preprogrammed song. Not that it’s any great shakes as a song.

Dennis Paulson

> On Aug 9, 2022, at 2:15 PM, Joshua Hayes <joshuaahayes at protonmail.com> wrote:


> Hi Tweets,


> If juvenile birds learn their songs from adult birds around them (which is the general idea, right?), then how do cowbirds learn to sing the (admittedly quite simple) cowbird song? I was watching one I had located by its song, over at North Seattle College, and it suddenly occurred to me that they don't have adult conspecifics around to learn from. So, how do they do it? Any ideas/references on the matter?


> Josh Hayes

> Joshuaahayes at proton.me

> Sent with Proton Mail <https://proton.me/> secure email.

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