Starling: “I have a question!”

David Rothenberg’s fascinating study, Why Birds Sing, meanders through the many reasons for birdsong, but eventually concludes that it is mainly because they can, says Andrew Motion.”

From The Guardian:

StarlingStarlings are great mimics, which is mainly why Meredith West and Andrew King spent a decade studying nine of them at the University of Indiana. They kept four birds in isolation, while the other five lived “in close proximity to their human caretakers, with extensive and friendly bird- human interaction”. Not surprisingly, only these five learned to copy human sounds, which they reproduced “in odd ways”. “‘Basic research’ one said. ‘Basic research, it’s true, I guess that’s right.’ One bird, which needed to have its claws treated for an infection, squirmed while held, screaming, ‘I have a question!’.”

More here.