Science Discovers Birds Sing Badly When Drunk

10.17.12 5 years ago 3 Comments

Every now and then, a scientific report comes along that makes you wonder what, precisely, the highly trained and supposedly quite intelligent individuals behind it thought was going to happen in the first place.

Case in point, some researchers got zebra finches drunk, we suspect for laughs, and then noticed that said finch is a lot sloppier with its singing when it’s tanked. It also seeks out karaoke bars and chooses songs it can totally do, like, better.

So why did they even do this in the first place? Because they were curious to see what affects it might have on young finches.

Yes, they got baby birds wasted. FOR SCIENCE! But it did turn up something interesting.

As you might have guessed, zebra finch song is very well-studied. Generally, young finches develop a complex original song to sing based on those of their cagemates and their fathers. Here’s a pretty fascinating site with a lot of samples and breeding history to illustrate the point.

Anyway, the biologists found that when you got the young finches drunk, you get arrested by the Bird Police. You also get a finch who is less creative and only pipes up a very simple song.

This may hint at teenage drunks being less creative across species, although it’s unclear if the effects are permanent. Either way, we just want to know how, exactly, this study came about. You guys totally gave the birds vodka, didn’t you?

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