Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bird Brain? Oh, What a Compliment

Did you know that birds sing complex strains of notes? I find it intriguing. The (sometimes pesky) chirping you hear coming from the tree is actually beautiful music. When slowed down you can hear the melody. Click on Slowing Down the Song at Why Birds Sing. Shocking.

Apparently Mozart bought himself a pet starling from whom he (purportedly) stole his notes. He was deeply attached to his little starling. According to PBS, "Birdsong is so elegant it's inspired the great masters. Mozart borrowed these notes from his beloved starling. When his muse died, the distraught maestro even gave it a formal funeral and wrote a poem in its honor." Awww, poor Wolfgang.

Similarly, Beethoven stole the famous "dah dah dah daaah" in his Fifth Symphony from a wood wren. This is craziness!

Science NOVA Now explores the cutting edge research that is being developed based on the study of bird calls and corresponding brain activity. Researchers are hopeful that their findings will help to eliminate stuttering in human subjects.

Who knew birds were so smart?

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