Profs & Pints Richmond: Bird Songs—A Listeners’ Guide--Door tickets remain available

By Profs and Pints (other events)

Wednesday, May 22 2024 6:00 PM 8:30 PM EDT

Advance ticket sales have ended but plenty of additional tickets remain available at the door.

Profs and Pints Richmond presents: “Bird Songs—A Listeners’ Guide,” on hearing and understanding our feathered friends’ messages, with Stephen Ferguson, visiting assistant professor of biology at the University of Richmond and physiobehavioral ecologist who extensively researches birds.

Song fills the air each spring as birds shake off the winter and stake their claims. For millennia writers from Aristotle to Darwin have drawn inspiration from their melodies. Yet we remain nothing more than eavesdroppers of conversations in unknown languages, and left wondering: What are birds saying, and to whom?

Gain a better understanding of birds’ songs—and what we can learn from them—with Professor Stephen Ferguson, who has researched bird brains, behavior, and physiology throughout the nation and around the world.

He’ll discuss how male birds learn and remember how to sing, using a brain that shrinks and grows every year. He’ll show how the meaning of songs changes for different listeners, from lovers to rivals. Competition breeds excellence, and song is no exception – bird song drives mate choice, lays claim to territories, and is passed on from father to son.

But that’s only half the story, for what is a performance without an audience? Diving into the world of female bird song, he’ll discuss the historical reasons that female song has been ignored, what that song accomplishes, and where you can hear it—maybe even in your own backyard.

You’ll leave the talk still an eavesdropper, but with much more comprehension of the messages being sent through the air and the drama unfolding all around you. (Advance tickets: $13.50 plus sales tax and processing fees. Doors: $17, or $15 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors. Talk starts 30 minutes later.)

Image: A singing wren. Photo by Andy Morffew / Creative Commons.