Laura Mayer is an Associate Producer at WNYC.
We know birds sing in courtship, but Ofer Tchernichovski, a professor of Biology at CUNY, has been researching the way in which songbirds learn their “language” of song, while drawing some comparisons to human culture along the way.
Professor Tchernichovski spoke about his findings at the Cornelia Street Café as part of the Café’s Entertaining Science series.
On Experiments: To raise a human in isolation is the forbidden experiment. Not so with birds.
On Bird Songs: “When you hear a bird singing, it is not his song. It’s a song he acquired from his father, or from other birds who acquired it from his parents. There is an endless culture.”
On Lady Birds: “Females like songs prior to any experience.”