Dr. Kara Loeb Belinsky, assistant professor of biology, published her research on the communication between predator and prey birds Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, as reported by Science Daily in the story “Veeries Very Quiet When Owls Are About.” The research, which Belinsky gathered alongside Kenneth Schmidt of Texas Tech University, focused on how sound affects the hunting process of predatory owls as well as their prey, the Veery.
The pair observed the birds’ communication specifically at dusk, whereas most prior studies on this subject have taken place at dawn. Their findings show that the Veery reduces its song pattern for up to 30 minutes when it hears the familiar hoot of its predator at dusk. To reach these conclusions, Belinsky and Schmidt conducted the first study to use recorded owl vocalization as evidence of how the Veery alters its behavior.
Listen to Veery bird calls recorded by Andrew Spencer: