Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 179–186 | Cite as

Individual differences and within-flock convergence in chickadee calls

  • Dorothy L. Mammen
  • Stephen Nowicki
Article

Summary

A detailed sound analysis of the Chick-adee call of the black-capped chickadee (Parus atricapillus) was performed in order to determine a basis for individual recognition and for imitation within winter flocks. During the winter of 1978–1979 members of five free-living black-capped chickadee flocks were uniquely marked for individual identification, and their calls were recorded in the field. Nested analysis of variance of temporal call parameters measured from sonagrams and spectral parameters from frequency spectra showed that there were significant differences between individuals within flocks for every parameter measured. There were significant differences between flocks in the frequency ranges 800–2,200 Hz and 4,000–5,300 Hz, in the spectral parameters bandwidth and maximum frequency, and in the duration of the Dee syllable and total call duration.

Members of four of the five flocks were captured in December 1978 and held in aviaries segregated by original flock membership. In January 1979 the memberships of the three aviaries were rearranged to form experimental flocks. After one month, there were significant differences among the experimental flocks in the duration of the Dee syllable and total call duration. Convergence, as indicated by a significant decrease in variance among members (F-test), occurred in the experimental flock in Aviary 1 and was concentrated in the frequency ranges 1,300–1,800 and 6,200–6,900 Hz. The members of this experimental flock differed from each other in the number of 100 Hz frequency intervals within which each changed its own call.

The Chick-a-dee call contains sufficient information that it can potentially be used by black-capped chickadees for individual recognition. In addition, both field and aviary data suggest that flock members converge in some call characteristics. Possible explanations of the social significance of vocal convergence in chickadee flocks are discussed.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Beer CG (1969) Laughing gull chicks: recognition of their parents' voices. Science 166:1030–1032Google Scholar
  2. Beer CG (1970a) Individual recognition of voice in the social behavior of birds. In: Lehrman DS et al (eds) Advances in the study of behavior. Academic Press, New York, pp 27–74Google Scholar
  3. Beer CG (1970b) On the responses of laughing gull chicks to the calls of adults. I. Recognition of the voices of the parents. Anim Behav 18:652–660Google Scholar
  4. Berger LR, Ligon JD (1977) Vocal communication and individual recognition in the pinon jay, Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus. Anim Behav 25:567–584Google Scholar
  5. Bertram BCR (1970) The vocal behavior of the Indian hill mynah, Gracula religiosa. Anim Behav Monogr 3:79–192Google Scholar
  6. Brewer R (1961) Comparative notes on the life history of the Carolina chickadee. Wilson Bull 73:348–373Google Scholar
  7. Brooke M de L (1978) Sexual differences in the voice and individual vocal recognition in the Manx shearwater (Puffinus puffinus). Anim Behav 26:622–629Google Scholar
  8. Brooks RJ, Falls JB (1975) Individual recognition by song in white-throated sparrows. I. Discrimination of songs of neighbors and strangers. Can J Zool 53:879–888Google Scholar
  9. Dixon KL (1963) Some aspects of social organization in the Carolina chickadee. Proc XIIIth Int Ornithol Congr, pp 240–258Google Scholar
  10. Dixon KL (1965) Dominace-subordination relationships in mountain chickadees. Condor 67:291–299Google Scholar
  11. Dooling RJ (1980) Behavior and psychophysics of hearing in birds. In: Popper AN, Fay RR, (eds) Comparative studies of hearing in vertebrates. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, pp 261–288Google Scholar
  12. Emlen ST (1972) An experimental analysis of the parameters of bird song eliciting species recognition. Behavior 41:130–171Google Scholar
  13. Evans RM (1970) Imprinting and mobility in young ring-billed gulls, Larus delawarensis. Anim Behav Monogr 3:193–248Google Scholar
  14. Feeles F (1977) Colony-specific song in Cacicus cela (Icteridae, Aves): the password hypothesis. Ardea 65:197–202Google Scholar
  15. Ficken MS, Witkin SR (1977) Responses of black-capped chickadee flocks to predators. Auk 94:156–157Google Scholar
  16. Ficken MS, Ficken RW, Witkin SR (1978) Vocal repertoire of the black-capped chickadee. Auk 95:34–48Google Scholar
  17. Glace JC (1973) Ecology of social organization in the black-capped chickadee. Living Bird 12:235–267Google Scholar
  18. Greenewalt CH (1968) Bird song: acoustics and physiology. Smithsonian Inst Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  19. Grimes L (1966) Antiphonal singing and call notes of Laniarius barbarus. Ibis 108:122–126Google Scholar
  20. Harris MA, Lemon RE (1976) Responses of male song sparrows Melospiza melodia to neighboring and non-neighboring individuals. Ibis 118:421–424Google Scholar
  21. Kroodsma DE (1976) The effect of large song repertoires on neighbor “recognition” in male song sparrows. Condor 78:97–99Google Scholar
  22. Latimer W (1977) A comparative study of the songs and alarm calls of some Parus species. Z Tierpsychol 45:414–443Google Scholar
  23. Mammen DL (1981) Individual and flock differences in blackcapped chickadee calls. MS thesis, Cornell University, Ithaca, NYGoogle Scholar
  24. Marler P (1960) Bird songs and mate selection. In: Lanyon WE, Tavolga W (eds) Animal sounds and communication. AIBS, Washington, DC, pp 348–367Google Scholar
  25. Marler P, Mundinger PC (1971) Vocal learning in birds. In: Molta H (ed) The ontogeny of vertebrate behavior. Academic Press, New York, pp 389–450Google Scholar
  26. Marler P, Mundinger PC (1975) Vocalizations, social organization, and breeding biology of the twite, Carduelis flavirostris. Ibis 117:1–17Google Scholar
  27. McLaren MA (1975) Breeding biology of the boreal chickadee. Wilson Bull 87:344–354Google Scholar
  28. Mundinger PC (1970) Vocal imitation and individual recognition of finch calls. Science 168:480–482Google Scholar
  29. Mundinger PC (1970) Call learning in the Carduelinae: ethological and systematic considerations. Syst Zool 28:270–283Google Scholar
  30. Odum EP (1942) Annual cycle of the black-capped chickadee. 3. Auk 59:499–531Google Scholar
  31. Roberts J, Kacelnik A, Hunter ML Jr (1979) A model of sound interference in relation to acoustic communication. Anim Behav 27:1271–1273Google Scholar
  32. Snedecor GW, Cochran WG (1967) Statistical methods. Iowa State, Ames, IAGoogle Scholar
  33. Sokal RR, Rohlf FJ (1969) Biometry. Freeman, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  34. Stevenson JG, Hutchinson RE, Hutchinson JB, Bertram BCR, Thorpe WH (1966) Individual recognition by auditory cues in the common tern (Sterna hirundo). Nature 226:562–563Google Scholar
  35. Thorpe WH, North MEW (1965) Origin and significance of the power of vocal imitation with special reference to the antiphonal singing of birds. Nature 208:219–222Google Scholar
  36. Thorpe WH, North MEW (1966) Vocal imitation in the tropical bou-bou shrike Laniarius aethiopicus major as a means of establishing and maintaining social bonds. Ibis 108:432–435Google Scholar
  37. Watkins WA (1966) The harmonic interval: fact or artifact in spectral analysis of pulse trains. In: Tavolga WN (ed) Marine bioacoustics, vol 2. Pergamon Press, New York, pp 15–42Google Scholar
  38. Watson M (1969) Significance of antiphonal song in the eastern whipbird, Psophodes olivaceus. Behavior 35:157–178Google Scholar
  39. White SJ (1971) Selective responsiveness by the gannet (Sula bassana) to played-back calls. Anim Behav 19:125–131Google Scholar
  40. Wickler W, Seibt U (1980) Vocal duetting and the pair bond II. Unisono duetting in the African forest weaver, Symplectes bicolor. Z Tierpsychol 52:217–226Google Scholar
  41. Wiley RH, Richards DG (1978) Physical constraints on acoustic communication in the atmosphere: implications for the evolution of animal vocalizations. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 3:69–94Google Scholar
  42. Wilson EO (1975) Sociobiology. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dorothy L. Mammen
    • 1
  • Stephen Nowicki
    • 1
  1. 1.Neurobiology and Behavior, Langmuir LaboratoryCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Zoology NJ-15University of WashingtonSeattleUSA

Personalised recommendations