Scientific discoveries this week: 11-7-11
Baltimore, Maryland – Wrens appear to have a remarkable memory for music. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland have been studying how the small birds sing their perfect duets. The wren, when singing together in male-female duets, are so perfectly synchronous that at times they sound like one bird. The scientists thought that this was because of an instinctual response in the birds’ brains, a type of code that would make one bird respond in a certain way to the song of the other. Rather than being pre-programmed to work, the researchers found that the male and female wren each have a perfect memory of the duet, which allows them to sing it together so well. They don’t just remember their own parts, they remember each other’s parts and the final song.