Why Does the Songbird SIng? Songbirds are often used as a model to study the overall basis of speech, and specifically the biological mechanisms of vocal learning. Researchers use the model to better understand how experience causes the brain to develop and change. However, little is known about how the brains of songbirds change as they learn a new song. In isolated communities of zebra finches, it is unknown how younger birds process sounds as they learn to imitate older tutors. Researchers have developed techniques to non-invasively detect changes in brain responses of zebra finches after exposure to song stimuli during periods of song learning and changes to their social environment.
Image credit: Beryl John, Zaid Kajani and Melvyn Mathew