Male Hummingbird Chirps Contain Hidden Song

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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.


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

This segment aired on August 5, 2014.


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