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Science Café: Acoustical Communication in Birds: Jan. 17

Jan. 17, 2013 — 7 p.m. (discussion followed by Q&A), NC Museum of Natural Sciences, The Daily Planet Café, 1101 West Jones Street, Raleigh.

Birds have the greatest sound producing capabilities of all vertebrates, allowing them to communicate over long distances, in dense vegetation, and at night. The scientific literature on bird vocalizations began more than 400 years ago with the observation by Italian naturalist Ulysses Aldrovandus that ducks and chickens called even after their heads were chopped off, and noting that the source of their vocalizations was apparently sited in the body and not the head. The source is in fact a unique organ, the syrinx, which allows some birds to sing two songs simultaneously, and others to sing with a vocal range that spans four octaves. In this Science Café, you'll learn about these and other unique adaptations for acoustical communication in birds.

About the Speaker:

Ted Simons is a Professor and Assistant Unit Leader in the USGS Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Biology, NC State University. He earned his BS at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and his M.S. and Ph.D. at the University of Washington, Seattle. He served as a research biologist with the National Park Service and the Director of the NPS Cooperative Park Studies at the University of Virginia before coming to NCSU in 1993. As a member of the Biology faculty at NC State, he teaches a graduate level course in Ornithology, mentors graduate students, and conducts field research to improve species conservation and monitoring programs through a better understanding of wildlife habitat relationships and sampling methods.

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