Scientists Find a Link Between Stress and Skill
Researchers claim to have found evidence that shows that stress plays a crucial role in determining whether or not birds mimic the sounds of other birds. According to scientists who studied the vocal repertoire of bowerbirds – known for being able to imitate perfectly fifteen other bird sounds – the findings showed that bowerbirds only copied the sounds of birds in a stressful situation. This allegedly proves that birds only learn new sounds when under pressure and in distress of some sort. To add further mystery, as well as the "bullying" calls of aggressive bird species, scientists found that the bowerbirds mimicked the alarm calls of threatened species and even human speech.
The spotted bowerbird is found in Australia and Papua New Guinea. Apart from their talent for mimicry they are known for their elaborate nests or “bowers”, built by the males to impress female birds.