8 Aug 2018

Avian twittersphere: why birds listen in

From Nine To Noon, 9:36 am on 8 August 2018
Fairy wren on alert

Fairy wren on alert Photo: Jessica McLachlan

It turns out birds can be just as skilled as humans at eavesdropping and one bird's distress tweet can go viral. Australian scientists have discovered that fairy-wrens, small Australian songbirds, can learn to recognize the alarm calls of other species. 

ANU behavioural ecologist Robert Magrath talks to Lynn Freeman about his "tweeter speakers" and why deciphering neighbourhood gossip about an approaching predator can mean the difference between life and death.