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Changes in Microgeographic Song Variation of the Corn Bunting Miliaria calandra

Jo Holland, Peter K. McGregor and Candida L. Rowe
Journal of Avian Biology
Vol. 27, No. 1 (Mar., 1996), pp. 47-55
Published by: Wiley on behalf of Nordic Society Oikos
DOI: 10.2307/3676960
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3676960
Page Count: 9
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Changes in Microgeographic Song Variation of the Corn Bunting Miliaria calandra
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Abstract

Corn Buntings in North Cornwall, England show a clear local dialect pattern of microgeographic song variation. This conclusion is based both on qualitative assessments of spectrogram similarity by human observers and on a non-subjective, quantitative method using cross-correlation. Compared with the local dialects found there 14 years ago there is no similarity with present dialects in either location of dialect boundaries or in detailed structure of songs. The extent of changes in song structure found implies a different mechanism from the accumulation of small year to year changes previously reported for this species. We suggest that changes in land use and associated changes in the suitability of the habitat for Corn Buntings are responsible. This idea is consistent with the finding that the area with most recent agricultural change has no clear pattern of local dialects.

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