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科学美国人60秒:濒临灭绝的鸟儿忘记了自己的歌声

所属教程:科学美国人60秒科学系列 更新:06-02
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These Endangered Birds Are Forgetting Their Songs

濒临灭绝的鸟儿忘记了自己的歌声

Some birds are relatively easy to study. Ross Crates studies the ones that aren’t. He’s part of the Difficult Bird Research Group at the Australian National University.

有些鸟类比较容易研究。罗斯·克拉茨研究的是那些不易研究的鸟类。克拉茨是澳大利亚国立大学难鸟研究小组的成员。

“All our study species are quite challenging to study for various reasons, mostly because they’re really rare and highly mobile.”

由于各种原因,我们所有的研究物种都非常具有挑战性,主要是因为它们非常稀少,而且高度流动性。”

One of those “difficult birds” is the critically endangered regent honeyeater. They’re medium-sized songbirds—with bright yellow tails and black-and-white chests. And though they once roamed Australia in flocks of hundreds, fewer than 300 remain in the wild today.

其中一种“难对付的鸟类”是极度濒危的摄政蜜雀。它们是中型的鸣禽,有亮黄色的尾巴和黑白相间的胸脯。虽然它们曾经数百只成群在澳大利亚游荡,但如今仍存活在野外的不到300只。

Crates and his team tracked the birds over a five-year period. If they encountered a male, they’d record his song.

克拉茨和他的团队在5年的时间里追踪了这些鸟。如果遇到一只雄性,就会录下它的歌声。

[CLIP: Proper song]

And they noted whether the males were paired up with females.

他们注意到这些雄性是否与雌性配对。

They found that a quarter of the birds sangvariationsof the traditional honeyeater song. And 12 percent of the birds weren’t singing honeyeater songs at all. They were parroting different species’ songs—like this ...

他们发现,四分之一的鸟会发出不同形式的传统的蜜鸟叫声。还有12%的鸟儿根本不唱蜜鸟的歌。它们在鹦鹉学舌地模仿不同物种的叫声——就像这样……

[CLIP: Little friarbird]

... or this.

或者这样。

[CLIP: Little wattlebird]

That could mean bad news for the birds’ future—because males singing those untraditional songs were also less likely to be paired up with a mate, compared to their counterparts who sang the standard tune.

这对鸟儿的未来来说可能是个坏消息——因为与那些唱标准曲调的鸟儿相比,唱那些非传统歌曲的雄性鸟儿也不太可能找到配偶。

“As females breed less, then there’s obviously fewer males in that generation to teach the next generation. A higher proportion of males sing weird songs. And you get a bit of a positive feedback toward extinction.”

“随着雌性繁殖的减少,用来教育下一代的雄性就明显减少了。”更大比例的雄性会唱奇怪的歌。物种灭绝,你会得到一些积极反馈。”

\

The work appears in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

这项研究发表在《英国皇家学会学报B》上。

Crates says the honeyeaters’ loss of songs equates to a loss of culture.

拉茨说,这些鸟失去了歌声就等于失去了文化。

“It’s a complete sort of, you know, animal equivalent of the loss of Indigenous languages, whether that be Native American languages or Aboriginal Australian languages here.”

这就相当于动物失去了自己的本土语言,无论是本土梅雨还是土著澳大利亚语。

He says he hopes it serves as a warning that all is not well in Australia’s natural world—and that we must do more to tackle climate change and conservation if we hope to save it.

克拉茨表示,他希望这项研究并不只是适用于澳大利亚——如果想解决这个问题,以应对气候变化、保护物种,我们必须作出更多努力。

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