Good night's sleep keeps birds in tune

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The Independent Online

A good night's sleep improves young birds' ability to learn new songs, a study claims.

A good night's sleep improves young birds' ability to learn new songs, a study claims.

But the benefits of a long snooze take a while to kick in because birds initially struggle to replicate and remember songs when they first wake up.

A team of American researchers recorded every single vocalisation made by 12 young male zebra finches over several months, as they got to grips with learning songs.

They found the birds' singing prowess was worse than the previous day when they first woke up but then improved during the late morning - to surpass their previous day's performance.

This "one step back, two steps forward" pattern could help birds consolidate their abilities while giving them the chance to relearn song sequences, the study in Nature found.

Sebastien Deregnaucourt, of the City University of New York, and his colleagues also found the finches rehearsed song patterns in their sleep.

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