Alexandra Hernandez

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To examine the effect of photoperiodic condition on song-control nuclei we examined three groups of male and female black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapilla). Photorefractory birds were held on long days for several months and had fully regressed gonads. Photosensitive birds were held on short days for several months and had small gonads.(More)
In seasonal environments animals organize their behaviour around annual cycles of resource availability. Wild black-capped chickadees are most likely to hoard food in autumn. At this time of year chickadees are also reported to have a larger hippocampus, a brain area important for spatial memory. This study examined how photoperiodic condition affects these(More)
We examined the effects of song tutoring on adult song preferences, volume of song-control brain regions, and activity of auditory brain regions in female house finches (Carpodacus mexicanus). Hand-reared females were tutored with local songs, foreign songs, or no song. We then examined adult song preferences, determined the Nissl-defined volume of the(More)
Many animals seasonally change energy stores such as food caches and fat deposits. Two factors that potentially influence energy stores are changes in day-length and food availability. We investigated food storing and fat levels in black-capped chickadees to determine how they are affected by changes in duration of light period and duration of food(More)
Male songbirds learn to produce their songs, and females attend to these songs during mate choice. The evidence that female song preferences are learned early in life, however, is mixed. Here we review studies that have found effects of early song learning on adult song preferences, and those that have not. In at least some species, early experience with(More)
Male songbirds learn to produce song within a limited phase early in life; however they continue to learn to recognize songs in adulthood. Studies looking at Zenk activation after exposure to songs learned early in life for song production and songs learned in adulthood show opposite patterns of activation, suggesting distinct neural mechanisms may be(More)
Social stimuli can have rewarding properties and promote learning. In birds, conspecific vocalizations like song can act as a reinforcer, and specific song variants can acquire particular rewarding values during early life exposure. Here we ask if, during adulthood, an acoustic signal simpler and shorter than song can become a reward for a female songbird(More)
Social stimuli can have rewarding properties and promote learning. In birds, conspecific vocalizations like song can act as a reinforcer, and specific song variants can acquire particular rewarding values during early life exposure. Here we ask if, during adulthood, an acoustic signal simpler and shorter than song can become a reward for a female songbird(More)
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