Friday, January 23, 2015

Variation in the Vocal Behavior of Common Loons

Common Loon photo by D. Poleschook
Mennill, D.  2014.  Variation in the Vocal Behavior of Common Loons (Gavia Immer):  Insights from Landscape-level Recordings.  Waterbirds 37 (Special Publication I): 26-36.

The song of the Common Loon (Gavia Immer) is one of the most evacuative of many areas of North America: spring would not be the same without this amazing song caring over northern lakes.  Using a custom-designed microphone array to collect landscape-scale recordings, Dan Mennill's bioacoustic analyses focused on understanding how their vocal output varied with time of day, time of year, and in response to variation in weather.  Common Loons showed significant diel variation in vocal output, producing more wail, yodel, and tremolo calls at night than during the day; the wail, yodel, and tremolo calls transmit significantly farther at night than during the day. These results provide quantitative details of Common Loon vocal signaling strategies, revealing that this species calls when abiotic conditions are ideal for long-range signaling. 

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