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March 20, 2008 4:06 AM   Subscribe

Birds start singing in the spring because of a biological response to longer days.
posted by chuckdarwin (26 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Me, too!
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:06 AM on March 20, 2008


No, shit, Sherlock.
posted by unSane at 5:10 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Any word on what that warm feeling coming out of fire is? I've been wondering.
posted by DU at 5:14 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


So does your mom.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 5:14 AM on March 20, 2008


This hormone, previously associated with growth and metabolism, helped to stimulate the pituitary gland to secrete other hormones. In turn this caused the birds' testes to grow, which eventually resulted in crowing to attract a mate.

The findings could also one day lead to better treatments for infertility because humans have the same cells in the same part of the brain, Sharp added.

"It is sitting there and standing there with the same characteristics as in birds," he said. "The big question is whether these cells are involved in the reproductive system."

Could be very important to the future of fertility science.
posted by chuckdarwin at 5:17 AM on March 20, 2008


I'm cool with birds singing and longer days. I just wish the birds and days didn't have to start in the morning.
posted by srboisvert at 5:18 AM on March 20, 2008


Still unanswered: Why does the rain fall from up above? Why do fools fall in love?
posted by steef at 5:23 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


It indirectly stimulated the pituitary gland to secrete further hormones called gonadotrophins, causing male birds' testicles to grow and, as a result, they begin to crow to attract partners.

srboisvert, it's not their fault. It's the fault of their expanding magical bollocks. Their bollocks make them sing in the morning. Their balls are like, SING, YOU LITTLE MOTHERFUCKER. SING!

And then they wake you up. All because of their bollocks.
posted by chuckdarwin at 5:25 AM on March 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


steef, I could throttle you. I came here to say that.

ps: Why do lovers await the break of day?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 5:37 AM on March 20, 2008


Northern mockingbirds will sing at night - and sing all night - if they are dateless in the spring. We had one like that in our backyard a couple of years ago. It's weird to get up in the middle of the night and hear birdsong.
posted by rtha at 5:52 AM on March 20, 2008


This is interesting in all sorts of ways:

a) the researchers implanted chips into the quails' brains to directly scan their genes;

b) the genes, in all of the birds, were activated "roughly 14 hours after dawn on the first day of sufficient length";

c) the birds' testes, as chuck has now so delicately noted, were enlarged as part of the process; and

d) the good professor, while I imagine he was tallying up grant money in his head and trying his best not to laugh as he issued the lines that every newspaper science writer needs to get her editor to cough up space, did in fact suggest that the study may yield applications in human fertility.

So I can't help thinking that chuck probably should've set aside the tasteful understatement and run with ZOMBIE ROBOT BIRDS MAY HOLD KEY TO FUTURE OF PENIS ENLARGEMENT SPAM, HUMAN RACE if he wanted anyone to actually read the articles.
posted by dyoneo at 5:55 AM on March 20, 2008


dyoneo, I simply posted the thrust of the research, trusting that almost preternaturally patient and polite contributors here at metafilter.com would click and read everything carefully before posting snarky comments.

In other words, I was really fucking high.
posted by chuckdarwin at 6:01 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


The question of why birds suddenly appear every time that you're near, however, is as yet unresolved.
posted by box at 7:06 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Changing day length in the fall can cause some birds to start singing then as well. One of my professors termed it "the autumnal recrudescence of the amatory urge." He may have copped it from somewhere, he never fessed up. Oddly enough, a quick Google search turns up these lyrics, copyrighted by someone possessing the same last name as my old professor. She may have been his first wife. Unfortunately, both of them are now deceased, so perhaps I'll never know if the phrase was his. What I do know is that I found it quite unforgettable.
posted by mollweide at 7:13 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


And my favourite obscure song lyric: Why do birds sing so gay?
posted by binturong at 9:00 AM on March 20, 2008


Still unanswered: Why does the rain fall from up above? Why do fools fall in love?

What is louder than a horn,
And what is sharper than a thorn?
What is broader than the way,
And what is deeper than the sea? (More.)

Also, I doubt this line of research applies all that directly to human fertility, since we're fertile year-round. But it is fun stuff to learn what makes birds tick.
posted by Tehanu at 9:31 AM on March 20, 2008


The parakeets in my bathroom will sing to the running of a faucet, or the sound of someone peeing. No word yet on whether this is related to spring's effects on their testes or just their unbridled love of tinkling noises.
posted by quin at 10:58 AM on March 20, 2008


The question of why birds suddenly appear every time that you're near, however, is as yet unresolved.

a twelve year-old i know thinks that part of the song is unbelievably creepy. she says that when she heard it as a small child, she envisioned something like The Birds. this was the song her parents sang to her as a "lullaby."
posted by RedEmma at 2:17 PM on March 20, 2008


Twit twit twit
Jug jug jug jug jug jug
So rudely forc'd.
Tereu
posted by dhartung at 2:25 PM on March 20, 2008


Yup. And anything that grows a winter coat / sheds a winter coat does so in response to the shortening / lengthening of the days.
posted by yoga at 4:53 PM on March 20, 2008


Nothing to add but a link to 51 audio files of Brazilian birds, including some of the most bizarre and beautiful bird songs you'll ever hear. Why Birds Sing is worth a look, too.
posted by mediareport at 5:58 PM on March 20, 2008


There is one bird song I can't get out of my head. WTF is this bird?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:12 PM on March 20, 2008


mediareport, those are some amazing bird songs. now listen to this: Tui
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 9:33 PM on March 20, 2008


The Tui's call is really odd...
posted by chuckdarwin at 4:24 AM on March 21, 2008


But it is fun stuff to learn what makes birds tick.

God, didn't you even read the article? This is about why birds sing, not what makes them tick.
posted by Pollomacho at 4:48 AM on March 21, 2008


tic-tic, tic-tic-tic
posted by Tehanu at 10:00 AM on March 21, 2008


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