Scientists discover how birds localize sound sources

 Birds’s heads are the key to their ability to locate the source of a sound, say scientists from Munich. (Steve Perez/ Associated Press)

Birds’s heads are the key to their ability to locate the source of a sound, say scientists from Munich. (Steve Perez/ Associated Press)

German researchers have figured out how birds locate the source of a sound even though they don’t have external ears.

Outer ears on mammals help the animal identify whether sounds are coming above, below or at the same level.

Technische Universität München (TUM) has solved that mystery, publishing its findings in the journal PLOS ONE.

The location of a sound is key to survival, say the scientists. For instance, blackbirds perform sing-offs to attract partners. The female must identify the correct suitor by locating the sound she prefers. Continue reading