Bird Scent: It is All In regards to the Micro organism
Written by Conor Gearin
That is BirdNote.
[Birdsong: ML 305942]
You could be shocked to be taught that many birds have a way of scent. And the odors that birds make can act as mating indicators for some species.
The supply for a lot of of those scents, says biologist Danielle Whittaker, are the microbes that reside in birds’ preen oil, which they use to maintain their feathers in good situation.
Danielle Whittaker: And it seems that the uropygial gland, which is the gland that secretes preen oil, is house to a extremely numerous group of micro organism. And a whole lot of these micro organism are odor-producing.
So when birds rub preen oil into their feathers, they’re additionally spreading aromatic, useful micro organism. For birds reminiscent of Darkish-eyed Juncos, the pungent odors will help entice potential mates.
[Dark-eyed Junco song, ML 27611071, 0:16-0:18]
Danielle and different scientists are learning how the genes that regulate birds’ immune methods would possibly assist management these microbes.
Danielle Whittaker: There’s some actually fascinating work about immune system genes, reminiscent of the foremost histocompatibility advanced, which is concerned in regulating parasites and micro organism that come into the physique. It’s thought that that gene advanced will have an effect on the micro organism you carry, which can have an effect on your scent. So I really feel like this has the potential to be this unifying set of knowledge to assist us perceive how we get from animals’ immune system to the micro organism they carry, to the scent that they use to draw different people.
Be taught extra in Danielle Whittaker’s e book, 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. ML 305942 recorded by W. Hershberger, and Darkish-eyed Junco ML 27611071 recorded by J. McGowan.
BirdNote’s theme was composed and performed by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
© 2022 BirdNote July 2022
Narrator: Conor Gearin
ID# whittakerd-02-2022-07-22 whittaker-02