Tiana Guinard - Terrestrial Animal Ecology Lab

Fitchburg State College, Fitchburg, MA

                       

The Effect of Supplemental Winter Food on the Song of the Northern Cardinal

The singing behavior of male and female Northern Cardinals, Cardinalis cardinalis, was examined an compared on a treatment which received supplemental black oil sunflower seed in winter and on two treatments which received no supplementation. Males sang faster within bouts on the experimental treatment than on control treatments. This could be a manifestation of increased territoriality due to artificially raised territory quality. Females sang more bouts per observation time on the control treatments than on the treatment with supplemental food. If female song functions to maintain pair-bonds between mates as has been proposed in precious studies, this may indicate that supplemental winter food positively affects the maintenance of this during the pre-nesting period.

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