Birds' sing to attract partners in spring

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{image-singing birds980_23032008.jpg}London, Mar 23: Ever wondered why birds sing in the spring? Its not to welcome the new season but more of a flirting mechanism to attract partners, scientists revealed. Birds start singing in spring due to hormones triggered by longer days and the desire to mate, they said. A study undertaken by the Roslin Institute near Edinburgh and Nagoya University in Japan identified how the changing seasons affect a bird's brain. Cells near the pituitary gland release a hormone in the spring triggering the need to reproduce and as a reaction to this birds sing to attract a mate, it said.

Prof Peter Sharp of the Roslin Institute said, ''While we knew what area of the brain was affected by seasonal change, until now we did not know the exact mechanism involved. Now we have identified a key element in the process of the brain's activity when spring arrives.'' During the experiments, the scientists discovered that genes in cells on the surface of the brain were switched on when the birds received more light, as a result of which, cells to release a thyroid-stimulating hormone, the Daily Mail reported. This indirectly stimulates the pituitary gland to secrete further hormones called gonadotrophins and in reaction the birds sing to attract partners.


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