NPR Story
3:10 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

Male Hummingbird Chirps Contain Hidden Song

Hummingbirds have an unusual mating ritual. The males fight to claim the best spot to sing and attract the females.

Patrick Skahill of Here & Now contributing station WNPR talked with Alejandro Rico-Guevara, a scientist at the University of Connecticut, who filmed the birds fighting and slowed the tape down to get a better look.

When playing back the slow-motion video, Rico-Guevara discovered something new: variations hidden within the male chirps that could be an additional way males reach out to the females.

[Youtube]

Reporter

  • Patrick Skahill, reporter at WNPR, covering science with an emphasis on health care and the environment. He tweets @ptskahill.
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