Young male finches are able to copy their father's songs and will adopt the songs of foster parents from other species. However, they resist learning tape-recorded songs. Researcher Patrice Adret at the University of Chicago wanted to know if they would be able to learn recorded bird songs if they were allowed to control the tape player. Birds that were in control of the "music" were found to learn the songs better than birds kept in adjacent cages that just listened to the songs being played. She also found that zebra finches sang well when viewing images of other birds, especially when shown a bird's head that appeared to be singing.
I am thinking that these birds might really enjoy a karaoke machine...
For more information about the studies visit Dr. Patrice Adret's website.
Image Source: Dr. Patrice Adret's website.