POOR GOLDFINCH—HAS HE A “HUMAN” IN HIS THROAT???? (or undigested worm?)
“The woods are alive with the sound of birdsong” (to misquote another famous song), even on this dreary, rainy day. However, although this little American Goldfinch opens his mouth widely and warbles his throat, no sound comes out.
Bird song involves a complex learning process. Chicks must hear and imitate the singing parent, which is made more difficult because multiple species are singing at the same time and have to be “tuned out”. That’s the input side of the process. The output involves the actual mechanics of producing the sound through contractions of the syringeal muscles, which takes practice.
The syrinx is located at the base of the trachea (unlike the…
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