Danielle Whittaker and the Thriller of Bird Scent



Danielle Whittaker on the Thriller of Bird Scent

Written by Conor Gearin

That is BirdNote.

When biologist Danielle Whittaker began finding out hen odors, some scientists tried to discourage her. They repeated an previous fantasy: birds can’t odor. However that solely deepened her curiosity.

Danielle Whittaker: After I first heard the concept birds didn’t have a way of odor, they grew to become this mysterious  puzzle I needed to examine. 

She was drawn additional into the world of hen scent when she caught a whiff of her favourite hen, the Brown-headed Cowbird.

Danielle Whittaker: The primary time I caught a Brown-headed Cowbird, I had it in a bag like we maintain captive birds. And after I opened the bag it smelled like contemporary cookies. And I could not imagine it. I took the hen out of the bag and sniffed it, and it smelled like sugar cookies. And each cowbird I’ve caught since then smells like cookies to me. 

    [Brown-headed Cowbird song, ML 106745, 0:25-0:27]

Danielle and her colleagues studied Darkish-eyed Juncos and located that these birds produce many odors through the breeding season. Linked to the birds’ intercourse hormones, these odors assist sign readiness to mate and the way aggressive a person is. 

    [Dark-eyed Junco song, ML 94361, 0:20-0:22]

Daniellle Whittaker: There have been numerous us that lastly began taking a look at habits in birds, and eventually began to see that they have been utilizing odor. It actually began to boost consciousness within the scientific group that “Hey, that is really one thing birds can do.” ‘

[Dark-eyed Junco song, ML 94361, 0:20-0:22]

Study extra in Danielle Whittaker’s new ebook, The Secret Fragrance of Birds: Uncovering the Science of Avian Scent. Discover a hyperlink on our web site, BirdNote DOT org. I’m Conor Gearin.


Senior Producer: John Kessler
Content material Director: Allison Wilson
Producer: Mark Bramhill
Managing Producer: Conor Gearin
Bird sounds supplied by The Macaulay Library of Pure Sounds on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Brown-headed Cowbird ML 106745 recorded by R. Little, and Darkish-eyed Junco ML 94361 recorded by W. Hershberger.
BirdNote’s theme was composed and performed by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
©  2022 BirdNote      March 2022        Narrator: Conor Gearin

ID# whittakerd-01-2022-03-11        whittakerd-01


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