Now birds brag by mimicking mobiles

Birds imitate mobile phone sounds

source: Chris Gray
Independent May 18 2001 p5

Some wild birds in Britain have started to imitate the sound of mobile phones ringing. This has been most often observed in starlings, which are related to mynah birds, and song thrushes, with some observations of marsh warblers and blackbirds mimicking ring tones.

The penchant of some birds for imitating whistles, car brakes, and other man-made sounds has been noted by Royal Society for the Protection of Birds’ Mike Everett. He notes that mimickry accounts for some 10% of the song of a starling. Male birds can defend territory better, and more easily find mates if their songs are varied, according to Everett. He sees this development as possibly beneficial for birds, since it could help to encourage breeding. Starlings have suffered a population drop of some 50%.