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Permanent link (DOI): https://doi.org/10.7939/R3WD3QC76

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An investigation of sex differences in acoustic features of the chick-a-dee call of black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) Open Access

Descriptions

Other title
Subject/Keyword
songbird
bioacoustics
black-capped chickadee
vocalization
call
Type of item
Thesis
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Campbell, Kimberley Ann
Supervisor and department
Sturdy, Christopher B. (Psychology)
Examining committee member and department
Evenden, Maya (Biological Sciences)
Hurd, Pete (Psychology)
Spetch, Marcia (Psychology)
Department
Department of Psychology
Specialization

Date accepted
2015-09-30T13:40:01Z
Graduation date
2015-11
Degree
Master of Science
Degree level
Master's
Abstract
The chick-a-dee call of the black-capped chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) is composed of four main note types (A, B, C, and D) that occur in a fixed order. Sex differences have been identified in a number of black-capped chickadee vocalizations (including tseet calls and fee-bee songs) and in the chick-a-dee calls of other chickadee species (specifically, Carolina chickadees [P. carolinensis]). In the current study, I investigated twelve acoustic features in black-capped chickadee chick-a-dee calls including frequency, duration, and amplitude measurements. Using permuted discriminant function analyses, these features were examined to determine which feature, or combination of features, could be used to identify the sex of the caller. Only one note type (A notes) allowed for the discrimination of male and female calls at levels approaching significance. In particular, the start frequency of A notes provided the best discrimination. This finding is consistent with previous research on Carolina chickadee chick-a-dee calls that found that the starting frequency differed between male- and female-produced A notes (Freeberg et al. 2003). Future research will investigate the behavioural response of black-capped chickadees as they discriminate male and female chick-a-dee calls as well as acoustically manipulated calls. The results of this and future projects will add to our knowledge of the proximate mechanisms underlying vocal communication of black-capped chickadees in particular and, more generally, will add to our knowledge of vocal communication in animals that use learned vocalizations, including humans.
Language
English
DOI
doi:10.7939/R3WD3QC76
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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