Health Editor’s Note: Unlike humans who use and live by tweets no matter their inanity/insanity, such as Trump, the red-breasted nuthatch only reacts to chickadee alarm calls after a fact check…..Carol
Black-capped chickadees have a vocabulary of 50 different vocalizations, including their namesake alarm call: chicka-dee-dee-dee. The longer the call lasts, the more dangerous the predator they’ve spotted.
Another small songbird, the red-breasted nuthatch, recognizes this alert, but a new study in Nature Communications shows that they don’t take the chickadees’ calls at face value. When a nuthatch hears a chickadee cry out, it will start to sing its own alarm call. But until they hear another nuthatch reply to confirm the predator sighting, they don’t take wing.
Erick Greene, a University of Montana ecologist and co-author of the new study, explains it’s kind of like the nuthatches are saying: “We’re on high alert and we got it from the chickadees that there’s something out there, but we haven’t verified it,” he tells National Geographic’s Brian Gutierrez.
In 2007, Greene first found that nuthatches were eavesdropping on chickadee conversations by hiding speakers at the bases of trees and playing chickadee alarm calls, per the paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“Chickadees and nuthatches are found together throughout most of the country. And in fact, they actually form winter flocks together,” biologist Chris Templeton of Pacific University, …..
Carol graduated from Riverside White Cross School of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio and received her diploma as a registered nurse. She attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Literature. She attended the University of Toledo, College of Nursing, and received a Master’s of Nursing Science Degree as an Educator.
She has traveled extensively, is a photographer, and writes on medical issues. Carol has three children RJ, Katherine, and Stephen – one daughter-in-law; Katie – two granddaughters; Isabella Marianna and Zoe Olivia – and one grandson, Alexander Paul. She also shares her life with her husband Gordon Duff, many cats, and two rescues.