This photo provided by Jessica McLachlan shows a fairy-wren. (Jessica McLachlan via AP)
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For birds, understanding neighborhood gossip about an approaching hawk or brown snake can mean the difference between life or death.The fairy wren, a small Australian songbird, is not born knowing the "languages" of other birds.Bradford and colleagues at Australia National University wandered around the Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra with customized "tweeter speakers" affixed to their wrists, looking for solitary fairy wrens. They wanted to be certain that the birds would react only to sounds, not other birds' behavior.The scientists first played the birds two unfamiliar recorded sounds. Twelve of the 16 birds fled at every playback; the other four birds fled in response to two-thirds or more of the playbacks.
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