Soundbites is a biweekly feature of the coolest, newest bioacoustics, soundscape, and acoustic research, in bite-size form. Plus other cool stuff having to do with sound.
Multimodal signalling in redwing blackbirds in noisy situations: more bird stuff this week to start off. Redwing blackbirds attract mates both acoustically (with songs) and visually (by showing off their fancy red shoulders). The visual signal was thought to be a sort of backup for the acoustic signal. In noisy conditions, these authors found that birds will change their calls but not their visual signaling, implying that the two signals are separate.
To be loud or not to be loud, that is the question: Females of many acoustic species tend to prefer their males loud because being loud requires energy. Or so we thought! Here the authors found that singing loudly in zebra finches is constrained more by social context than it is by energy expenditure. You should click on this link if only for the diagram of the zebra finch inside a respirometry mask. It’s adorable.
Fun link of the week: you guys know I love the science side of YouTube, right? I’ve made no secret of that. So for this week’s fun link, I give you a video from Joe Hanson of It’s Okay To Be Smart about the loudest sound:
(also, look! I finally figured out how to embed videos!)