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Permanent link (DOI): https://doi.org/10.7939/R3N58CT95

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Chickadee behavioural response to varying threat levels of heterospecific and conspecific calls Open Access

Descriptions

Other title
Subject/Keyword
animal behaviour
playback
communication
chickadee
predator threat
songbird
Type of item
Thesis
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Congdon, Jenna V.
Supervisor and department
Sturdy, Christopher B. (Psychology)
Examining committee member and department
Hurd, Peter (Psychology)
Spetch, Marcia (Psychology)
Paszkowski, Cynthia (Biological Sciences)
Department
Department of Psychology
Specialization

Date accepted
2015-09-11T13:16:11Z
Graduation date
2015-11
Degree
Master of Science
Degree level
Master's
Abstract
Chickadees produce many vocalizations, including the chick-a-dee call that they use as a mobbing call in the presence of predators. Previous research has shown that chickadees produce more D notes in their mobbing calls in response to high-threat predators compared to low-threat predators, and may perceive predator and corresponding mobbing vocalizations as similar. I presented black-capped chickadees with playback of high- and low-threat predator calls and conspecific mobbing calls to examine vocal and movement behaviours. Chickadees produced more chick-a-dee calls in response to playback of a high-threat predator than a low-threat predator, and to reversed high-threat mobbing calls than the original high-threat mobbing calls. Chickadees also vocalized more in response to mobbing calls compared to baseline, regardless of threat level. Chickadees did not produce significantly more D notes in response to high-threat mobbing calls compared to low-threat mobbing calls, but D note production showed some similarities to previous findings. The difference in chickadees production of tseets across playback approached significance as chickadees increased calling in response to conspecific mobbing calls. Perch hops decreased in response to conspecific-produced vocalizations, but increased in response to heterospecific-produced vocalizations. Non-perch hop movement behaviour, including food and water visits, decreased across the playback of almost all conditions, regardless of threat or producer. These results suggest that chickadees may produce mobbing calls more in response to high-threat predator vocalizations as an attempt to initiate mobbing with conspecifics, while they produce less mobbing calls in response to a low-threat predator that a chickadee could easily outmaneuver, and chickadees may increase perch hopping in response to predator playback in preparation for a “fight or flight” situation.
Language
English
DOI
doi:10.7939/R3N58CT95
Rights
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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