Birds Sing, but Are They Making Music? What Scientists Say.

For example, both humans and birds can produce smash hits that evoke feelings in their listeners, the psychologist Dr. Tchernichovski explained.

“When you hear music, what do you feel? Well, it depends on the music,” he said.

For instance, listening to a funeral march might make you sad even if you’re vacationing on the beach, and a romantic song might fill you with love even if you’re working on your taxes. Birdsong can affect the behavior of other birds by luring in a mate or scaring off an unwanted foe, similar to how we might turn up the volume when we hear our favorite song or skip to the next track if the vibe is off.

“This is the magic in music,” Dr. Tchernichovski said. “Bird songs seem to have some of this magic, too.”

But there’s no evidence that their songs have meaning, Dr. Bolhuis said.

“In the mind of the great composers, they actually meant something” with music, he said. “It’s not so much the case in birdsong.”

Also, birds have a limited repertoire, whereas with only a limited number of items, the human mind “can be infinitely creative,” Dr. Bolhuis said.

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