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Nature Night: The Singing Brain, The Fascinating Science of Birdsong

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When: May 09, 2017 from 07:00 pm to 08:30 pm

Join us for our last Nature Night of the 2016/2017 season with Dr. Claudio Mello for a talk on the science of birdsong.

*New Venue: Chapman Elementary School - 1445 NW 26th Ave, Portland, OR 97210

The evolution of our understanding of bird brains has grown dramatically since the time when “bird brain” was used as an insult. The ability of these avian creatures to tell entire stories in a single dulcet phrase is not only captivating, but sonically fascinating. Neuroscientist, Dr. Claudio Mello, will bring us new research about birds, their songs, and how they learn them. Join us for a talk about these jewels of melodic expression, and truly understand the beauty of a bird brain.

Only three groups of birds have the ability to learn their songs; namely songbirds, parrots and hummingbirds.  We study their behavior, their brains and their genomes, looking for clues as to how these birds are capable of accomplishing this complex learned behavior. The way songbirds learn to sing is in many ways similar to how we humans learn to speak, and indeed birdsong research has contributed many insights into the evolution and mechanisms of human speech and language.  Dr. Mello will present some of the latest updates in the neuroscience and genomics of birdsong learning. As we truly enter spring, this is a good time to talk about how the brain circuits in singing birds change in response to cues in the environment and in preparation for the breeding season.

Dr. Claudio Mello, Ph.D. is an associate professor at Oregon Health and Science University.  He has presented at Portland Audubon several times over the last many years, and is always a delight.

This is sure to be a talk that will fill up fast, so we encourage you to grab your seat early! EXPRESS ENTRY  is available by signing up at bit.ly/NATURENIGHT (this is not an RSVP but gains you quick access to the event).

Lazuli Bunting
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