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					TEMPORAL AND SPATIAL CHANGES IN HOUSE FINCH SONG
                    Khaleda Khan 1
                   Dr. David Lahti 2
                   Queens College 1, 2
               65-30 Kissena Boulevard
               Flushing, NY 11367-1597
                     Spring 2010
               Khaleda.khan@live.com 1
               David.lahti@qc.cuny.edu 2




                     ABSTRACT
KHALEDA KHAN                              TEMPORAL AND SPATIAL EVOLUTION OF THE EASTERN HOUSE FINCH SONG



House finches from southern California were introduced to New York in the

1940s. Since then they have migrated throughout eastern and central North

America. House finch colonization of different regions has resulted in geographic

variation in male song. For instance, eastern populations have smaller song repertoires

than the ancestral western populations. Birds in eastern populations also tend to share

more of their songs with their neighbors than do western house finches. I have recorded

the songs of male house finches around New York City. I plan to compare these and

other recordings to songs of western house finches in order to see how the song of the

eastern house finch has changed since it was introduced. The purpose of this study is

to determine how learned traits such as bird song are culturally transmitted through a

population and change through time and space.




INTRODUCTION


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KHALEDA KHAN                               TEMPORAL AND SPATIAL EVOLUTION OF THE EASTERN HOUSE FINCH SONG



The House Finch was introduced to Long Island, New York in the 1940’s from southern

California. Since it has been introduced to New York, the Eastern House Finch

population has developed migratory behavior that has not been observed in the original

western population. The eastern House Finch population has expanded throughout the

North American continent and has met with the western population (Able, 1998). House

Finches have a rapid, highly complex and variable song that is learned (Tracy, 1999).

Migration of the House Finch to different regions has caused geographical variation in

male House Finch song (Pytte, 1997) (Tracy, 1999) (Mundinger, 1975). Differences in

song include variation in the number of different song and syllables of an individual or

population. The amount of song and syllable sharing, among individuals in a

population, is also different depending on the region. Generally, eastern populations

have smaller song repertoire, less variation in individual songs, and share more of their

songs with their neighbors, then the western populations (Pytte, 1997). We will record

and analyze the song of the House Finch around New York City and compare it to the

songs native western population to see if the populations have syllables or variants of

the syllable in common with each other. This will help us know how the song of the

Eastern House Finch has changed since it has been introduced. The purpose of this

study is to determine how a learn trait like House Finch song can be culturally

transmitted throughout the population and how it has evolved in time and space.


METHOD


I recorded 2 males (Male1 and Male2) on Queens college campus. Male 1 was located

in front of Remsen hall; Male 2 was located in front of the Science building. I obtained

50 songs from Male 1 and 15 songs from Male 2. The songs were recorded using

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KHALEDA KHAN                               TEMPORAL AND SPATIAL EVOLUTION OF THE EASTERN HOUSE FINCH SONG



Marantz Professional digital recorders and Sennheiser microphone. The recordings

were downloaded on a computer and spectrographically analyzed using Audacity 1.3

Beta. I will continue to recorder more songs from these individual until I have obtained

100 songs for each. This will insure that I have exhausted their song repertoire. I will

also obtain songs from other House Finch males from other areas around New York

City. Once we have enough songs, we will determine if there is any syllable sharing

among the House Finches we have recorded. We will compare recordings of western

House Finches to the House Finches we have recorded, by visually analyzing the

spectrographs. Using spectrograph we will see to what extent the native and introduced

populations of House Finch share song syllables.


RESULTS


I did not try to characterize the songs of the recording I have, as I’m not certain whether

I have enough recordings per individual male to identify all songs and syllables in their

song repertoire. From the recordings I have, I’ve observed 3 different songs for Male1

(figure 1.) and 2 different songs for Male2. This is consistent with past observation of

eastern house finch repertoire; the average song repertoire of eastern House Finch

populations is 2.3 song per male (Mundinger, 1975).


DISSCUSSION and CONCLUSION


Our future goals are to continue to record House Finch song in the New York City and

surrounding areas, to identify the all of the syllable in the eastern populations of House

Finch and to identify all of the syllables in western populations. We will then see how

much the eastern population syllables have change from the original western


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KHALEDA KHAN                                      TEMPORAL AND SPATIAL EVOLUTION OF THE EASTERN HOUSE FINCH SONG



population. We will report the appearance of new syllables, variants of existing

syllables and disappearances syllables in the eastern population, to determine how

much divergence there is from the native western population. The purpose of this study

will be determine how learned traits such as, male House Finch song are culturally

transmitted throughout a population and how it evolves in time and space.




References
Able, K. P. (1998). Rapid 'evolution' of migratory behaviour in the introduced house finch of eastern
North America. The Royal Society 265 , 2063-2071.

Mundinger, P. (1975). Song dialects and colonization in House Finch, Carpodacus mexicanus. Condor 77
(4) , 407-422.



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KHALEDA KHAN                                      TEMPORAL AND SPATIAL EVOLUTION OF THE EASTERN HOUSE FINCH SONG



Pytte, C. L. (1997). Song organization of house finches at the edge of an expanding range. Condor 99(4) ,
942-954.

Tracy, T. T. (1999). Geographic variation in syllables of House Finch songs. Auk 116(3) , 666-676.



ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


I would like to thank Dr. David Lahti for giving me the opportunity to work on the House Finch

project. I would also like to thank Johanna Navarro and Wendy Perez for taking additional

recordings of House Finches in the New York City area.




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KHALEDA KHAN                                    TEMPORAL AND SPATIAL EVOLUTION OF THE EASTERN HOUSE FINCH SONG




Figure 1. Spectrogram of Male 1 songs in Audacity 1.3 Beta Software




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