Title

Prey responses to raptor calls

Presenter Information

Maggie Raboin

Presentation Type

Poster

Abstract

Predators are a major source of mortality for many small birds and mammals. Most species of small birds and mammals communicate with each other about predators (especially birds of prey) with sophisticated vocal alarm calls. Some recent studies have shown that the alarm calls of some small birds contain a surprising amount of information about raptors, such as the threat level, type, behavior, and location of predators. Most studies have presented models or live raptors to bird prey species and recorded the responses of the prey. These experiments have shown that prey species can be very good at visually discriminating among different kinds of raptors. We know very little about whether birds are also able to discriminate raptors based solely on the raptor’s vocalizations. I am experimentally testing the idea that small birds can distinguish the calls of different raptors. Using hidden speakers, I am playing the calls of different raptors to many different species of birds of different body sizes, and recording their behavioral and acoustical responses. I am specifically testing the allometric risk hypothesis, which suggests that the behavioral responses of prey species varies inversely with the relative size of the raptor. My preliminary behavioral and acoustical analyses indicate that birds recognize the calls of potential predators, and that their behavioral responses do depend on the relative size of the raptor.

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Apr 13th, 3:00 PM Apr 13th, 4:00 PM

Prey responses to raptor calls

UC Ballroom

Predators are a major source of mortality for many small birds and mammals. Most species of small birds and mammals communicate with each other about predators (especially birds of prey) with sophisticated vocal alarm calls. Some recent studies have shown that the alarm calls of some small birds contain a surprising amount of information about raptors, such as the threat level, type, behavior, and location of predators. Most studies have presented models or live raptors to bird prey species and recorded the responses of the prey. These experiments have shown that prey species can be very good at visually discriminating among different kinds of raptors. We know very little about whether birds are also able to discriminate raptors based solely on the raptor’s vocalizations. I am experimentally testing the idea that small birds can distinguish the calls of different raptors. Using hidden speakers, I am playing the calls of different raptors to many different species of birds of different body sizes, and recording their behavioral and acoustical responses. I am specifically testing the allometric risk hypothesis, which suggests that the behavioral responses of prey species varies inversely with the relative size of the raptor. My preliminary behavioral and acoustical analyses indicate that birds recognize the calls of potential predators, and that their behavioral responses do depend on the relative size of the raptor.