Warning: INSERT command denied to user 'dbo256360593'@'' for table 'watchdog' query: INSERT INTO watchdog (uid, type, message, variables, severity, link, location, referer, hostname, timestamp) VALUES (0, 'php', '%message in %file on line %line.', 'a:4:{s:6:\"%error\";s:12:\"user warning\";s:8:\"%message\";s:402:\"INSERT command denied to user 'dbo256360593'@'' for table 'captcha_sessions'\nquery: INSERT into captcha_sessions (uid, sid, ip_address, timestamp, form_id, solution, status, attempts) VALUES (0, '197a33891a56c6030464cd3753ae6c2a', '', 1575905426, 'user_login_block', '9a0980b491866619b1422e48de34e2d6', 0, 0)\";s:5:\"%file\";s:88:\"/homepages/45/d175009339/htdocs/tahoetowhitney.org/sites/all/modules/captcha/captcha.inc\";s:5: in /homepages/45/d175009339/htdocs/tahoetowhitney.org/includes/database.mysqli.inc on line 134
BIRD BRAINS? Chickadees Understand Complex Sound Emotions at Distance

BIRD BRAINS? Chickadees Understand Complex Sound Emotions at Distance

Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 12 July 2019



Black-Capped Chickadee
Black-Capped Chickadee, kriswaid, pixabay.
Black-Capped Chickadee, kriswaid, pixabay. Note the  beak on the bird in the image with the research notice below kind of looks like a Jackdaw (??), whatever it is, but not a Chickadee, not with that beak...


Complex Emotions Understood at Distance

Hear them roar: How humans and chickadees understand each other,
University of Alberta, July 12, 2019.


"The idea is that some species can understand other species' vocalizations."

"For instance, a songbird is able to understand the call of distress of a different type of songbird when they are in the presence of a predator, like an owl or a hawk. Or, for example, if your friend scared you and you screamed. Both of these are high-arousal vocalizations, and being able to understand what that sounds like in a different species can be very useful."

Science Proves
"Black-capped chickadees were also able to identify high arousal in other chickadees, humans, and giant pandas." Giant Pandas!? 

Spend More Time in the Woods…
"The scientists suspect that other vocal learners, or species that learn their vocalizations from parents and models in order to survive, have this ability as well."

"If humans and songbirds show an innate ability to understand the vocalizations of other species, would other vocal learners show this same propensity?"


Bottom Line

These particular birds, the Chickadees, like many others, will socialize, if you talk sweet to them...

But no, other, "vocal learners," would not express the same understanding of sound communication as does the Chickadee, which is a chill bird, who has a friendly character.
The Crows and Bluejays are just as, "sensitive," just as, "understanding," of tone and intent carried in communicated sounds as are the Chickadees, but both Jays and Crows have very different characters, and therefore very different ways of responding to sound stimuli than the mellower birds. Crow and Jay have a real, "Fuck You," attitude, while the Chickadees are just sweet.

I can chill out Chickadees & Mountain Chickens if I see them first, and have the chance to give them a bit of mellow cooing & clicking, to let them know I'm there, before they freak out... The Crows and Jays are like, "Fuck You, Man!" Ducks and Geese make Crow and Jay look friendly... 

I can talk some birds (the mellower ones) to sleep, or at least bits of eyes-closed bliss. And, it seems to me the birds can understand the sounds of pleasure and pain without having any visual clues, only the sounds. They know in which direction potential troubles lay, by the mere sound of it.

Birds are pretty freeking amazing, with all their various characters...

Birds are only one reason you should walk from Tahoe to Whitney. The rock, oh my god, the rocking geological wonderland...and then's there's the forest fringe, pushing up as far as it can into the high (and low!) altitude rock, pushing millions of saplings into widening the cracks in the rock...then there's the insects, and the mammals big and small, then the stars at night, dark enough we can actually see all eternity spinning around us, creating the dimensions of this wonderful reality burgeoning with life, and death, all around us.

That's why you should walk from Lake Tahoe to Mount Whitney... just to take the time and space to talk to the freeking birds.



Related Research

Voices of the Forests: Bird & Squirrel Information Networks

Bird Health: Constant Human Noise Driving Birds Crazy


Trail Guide

Friendly Little Bird at Tilden Lake

Upper Jack Main Canyon, Tilden Lake, North Yosemite Backcountry,
Click Red Dots for Trail Guide Entries

Forum Entry





Bird News

News of Man & Nature, July 2019








Nature News


Climate Destruction News



Bee News

Bear News

Spider Forum

Bird News

Small Mammals

Frogs and Reptiles

Butterfly News


Health and Fitness

Mountain Safety

Mosquito News

Female Trail

High Sierra History


Astro-Phys, Space, & Science News

High Sierra Geology News

Fish, Oceans, & Water News






bird, research, communication, high arousal vocalizations, chickadees


Powered by Drupal, an open source content management system

Latest News: RSS FEED

Syndicate content

Support Tahoe to Whitney

The Tahoe to Whitney Trail Guide and Magazine are walked, written, funded, and supported by my efforts, with the help of kindred spirits and my sister.

We offer valuable Trail Guide, Skills, Weather, News and Analysis.

My goal is to get you out to see your natural and social potential. Help me keep this unique resource accessible and expanding towards its potential. We've a lot of miles to cover ahead...

If you feel these efforts are valuable, I'm cordially inviting you to support them, here:



I am currently working towards publishing the completed guide between Tahoe & Yosemite as an e-book, while converting this "blog" to a fine magazine format. You will like the results! Help Tahoe to Whitney reach its potential!


Why Support Tahoe to Whitney?
Mission Statement

Warning: INSERT command denied to user 'dbo256360593'@'' for table 'watchdog' query: INSERT INTO watchdog (uid, type, message, variables, severity, link, location, referer, hostname, timestamp) VALUES (0, 'php', '%message in %file on line %line.', 'a:4:{s:6:\"%error\";s:12:\"user warning\";s:8:\"%message\";s:416:\"INSERT command denied to user 'dbo256360593'@'' for table 'accesslog'\nquery: INSERT INTO accesslog (title, path, url, hostname, uid, sid, timer, timestamp) values('BIRD BRAINS? Chickadees Understand Complex Sound Emotions at Distance', 'node/2459', '', '', 0, '197a33891a56c6030464cd3753ae6c2a', 445, 1575905426)\";s:5:\"%file\";s:87:\"/homepages/45/d175009339/htdocs/tahoetowhitney.org/modules/statistics/statisti in /homepages/45/d175009339/htdocs/tahoetowhitney.org/includes/database.mysqli.inc on line 134