Scientists discovered that birds got ahead of global warming, and they are teaching their offspring how to prepare for the hot days. The small zebra finch is singing to its eggs just before they hatch to let them know that warmer temperatures are waiting for them when they go out in the world.
The scientists observed that the bird sings to its eggs on two different moments. The fist is when the outside temperature gets over 78 degrees Fahrenheit, and the second is just before they hatch.
However, eggs are unaffected by the outside, warm weather. The researchers measured that their temperature remains at a steady 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, no matter how hot the sun shines over the rest of the world.
Two researchers from Deakin University in Australia wanted to verify the effects of the singing, and therefore they set up an experiment to see what happens when eggs receive the music treatment, and what happens when they don’t.
“By acoustically signaling high ambient temperatures to their embryos before hatching, zebra finch parents can program the developmental trajectories of their offspring,” said the authors in their recently published study.
They placed eggs into an incubator and then played different sets of calls made by the zebra finch. Some eggs received the general adult zebra finch calls, while the others were played the calls made by the birds singing inside their nests to their offspring.
The scientists observed a clear difference between the two groups of eggs. The little birds which had been played the nest calls grew slower and they also turned out to be smaller than the other ones.
Even if this may sound like a bad outcome, the researchers say that the small size could, in fact, be a survival advantage. Having not such a big-sized body will help the birds to cool off easier during the hot days.
The scientists monitored the population of birds that sang to their offspring and discovered that they had more eggs than the ones that were not in the habit of singing inside their nests and warning for hot weather.
The conclusion is that the calls performed by birds inside their nests affect the growth of the offspring because they are clearly timed to reach the eggs at a moment when their regulation system is developing.
The researchers believe that the strategy it was specially designed for birds to adapt to the warming temperatures, and they are interested in finding out if other animals have the same behavioral change that would permit the future generation to survive climate change.
Image Source: Wikipedia