The Oriental Magpie. Tribune photo: Rameshwar Gaur.
by Sandeep Rawat
Ever thought about the musical aspect in birds or how this sense develops in them when we hear a bird singing?
This is attributed to the complex neural network in the brain and formation of neurons during breeding season. Surprisingly, bird songs follow a rhythmic pattern and pitches that are in tune almost with the human music.
Noted neurobiologist Professor Monika Sadanand of University of Bangalore has researched on this singing aspect among avian species for the past few years.
Monika said that there are various similarities among the brain structure of avian and other mammals. Citing usage of various technicalities involved in neurobiology research, such as systematic tract tracing and lesions, Monika pointed that the basic parts of the brain are found in all forms of fish, reptiles, mammals and birds.
“In birds there is an area known as “high vocal centre” (HVC), which is responsible for song development and delivery during breeding season.
Some birds deliver songs, such as the Oriental Magpie Robin, Pied Bush Chat and India Robin.
Many other birds either do not possess this capacity to increase their HVC or they totally do not have it (HVC),” said Prof Sadanand.
Elaborating, she said it is quite interesting to note that only in song birds it is possible to form new neurons during every breeding season to churn a new song.