Reverberlocation in chickadees?

Eduardo Mercado, Matthew Wisniewski, Lauren Guillette, Brittany McIntosh, Christopher Sturdy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


Chickadee songs provide conspecifics with information about the locations of singers. Song amplitude, frequency, and reverberation all vary
with distance, and it is thought that chickadees use such cues to estimate distance. The current study examined transmission of chickadee songs in an open field to assess whether other cues such as relative changes in inter-note timing or relative differences in spectral energy might also provide useful information about a singer's location. Surprisingly, the difference between direct signal energy and reverberant spectral energy provided clear indications of how far a song had traveled. Preliminary analyses suggest that this cue may be robust to variations in source level, note duration, note frequency, and transmission loss. If chickadees use this cue to judge auditory distance, then this may explain why they maintain specific spectral ratios between the notes within their songs. Specifically, the spectral spacing of notes within songs appears to be directly related to chickadee auditory filter bandwidth. We describe ranging of a singing chickadee based on the spectral profile of its songs as reverberlocation (construed as an instance of passive echolocation) because it involves comparisons between a direct signal and echoes of a signal.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of Meetings on Acoustics
Place of PublicationMelville, NY
PublisherAcoustical Society of America (ASA)
ISBN (Electronic)1939-800X
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013
EventThe 21st International Congress on Acoustics - Montreal, Canada
Duration: 2 Jul 20137 Jul 2013


ConferenceThe 21st International Congress on Acoustics


  • Chickadee song
  • Amplitude
  • Frequency
  • Reverberation
  • Auditory distance
  • Spectral energy
  • Signal energy
  • Auditory filter bandwidth


Dive into the research topics of 'Reverberlocation in chickadees?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this