Science: Visible Bird Song

Hugh Lofting's Dr. Dolittle, beloved by children and by parents who read to children, trained a chorus of singing birds and let the birds themselves compose the music. He and the audience noticed that the canaries sometimes went through the motions of singing although they were making no audible sound. The birds were singing ultrasonically, and if Dr. Dolittle could go to Ohio State University this week, he would see the ultrasonic bird songs that he could not hear.

Professors Donald J. Borror and Carl R. Reese borrowed an elaborate audio-spectrograph from the university's astronomical observatory (where it was used to study...

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