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Crows Can Recognize The Calls Of Relatives

March 22, 2007
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Crows are social birds that often hang out in family groups. Though they look alike to us, individual crows can probably recognize one another and may be able to distinguish each other by their different calls, suggests a new Cornell study.
“Lots of crows end up breeding in the neighborhood they grew up in so there is no doubt in my mind that they recognize each other. How they do that, we have no idea,”
To see if vocalizations might be a cue, Yorzinski recorded more than 10,000 alarm calls (made when she approached the birds) of 15 crows from five family groups around Ithaca that had been individually marked with tags as part of a long-term study co-authored by McGowan. She then measured more than two dozen acoustic features of a subset of these calls, including frequency, duration, bandwidth and energy distribution using a sound analysis program developed by the Lab of Ornithology’s Bioacoustics Research Program.
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