Abstract/Details

Song learning and syntax patterns in the American robin and the soil characteristics of bank swallow nest sites


2006 2006

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Abstract (summary)

My dissertation is based on research in two very different subjects. The first two chapters report on my work with song learning and song element sequence patterns, or syntax, in the American Robin, while the last chapter is based on my work with soil samples from Bank Swallow colonies and other eroding slopes along the Connecticut River. American Robins are one of the most common and well known birds in North America, but very little is known about how robins acquire a song repertoire, or how robins transition through the different sounds in their repertoire when singing. Male robins typically have between 15 and 25 whistle song elements in their repertoire. When singing, male robins string these elements together, often singing 3 to 6 elements in a row. My analyses of recordings of young robins raised in acoustic isolation and of wild robins recorded at three locations in Western Massachusetts suggest that robins learn song elements through both imitation and improvisation/invention. I also found that robins sing the song elements in their repertoire in a complex non-random pattern, and that these patterns varied among the recording locations and among individuals. Bank Swallows nest by burrowing into the exposed soil of eroding banks, typically along rivers and streams. My research suggests that Bank Swallows tend to avoid nesting in banks that are composed primarily of sand, preferring slopes with a mixture of sand and silt, with larger colonies forming in areas with higher proportions of silt to sand.

Indexing (details)


Subject
Zoology;
Ecology
Classification
0472: Zoology
0329: Ecology
Identifier / keyword
Biological sciences, American robin, Bank swallow, Birdsong, Nest sites, Riparia riparia, Soil, Turdus migratorius
Title
Song learning and syntax patterns in the American robin and the soil characteristics of bank swallow nest sites
Author
Johnson, Steven L.
Number of pages
148
Publication year
2006
Degree date
2006
School code
0118
Source
DAI-B 67/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
ISBN
9780542522048, 0542522047
Advisor
Kroodsma, Donald E.; Byers, Bruce
University/institution
University of Massachusetts Amherst
University location
United States -- Massachusetts
Degree
Ph.D.
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Language
English
Document type
Dissertation/Thesis
Dissertation/thesis number
3206190
ProQuest document ID
305307296
Copyright
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
http://search.proquest.com/docview/305307296
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