Hmmm … maybe there’s a reason why Zebra Finches seem to flock to Clare M.’s fountain.

In this world-weary age of ours, you may think you’ve heard it all. But you’ve never heard a drunk Zebra Finch try to sing. Unless you’re a scientist who studied just that very thing and recently reported your results in PLOS One.

The findings of this research, as summarized by Discover Magazine: Zebra Finches are a good proxy for studying human speech. So researchers got a group of males good and liquored up (using juice with 6.5% alcohol content*) and prompted them to sing by playing recordings of females. The resultant songs were quieter and more slurred versus those of sober birds, and researchers posit that the mangled song snatches were produced by different brain pathways than the parts of the song that sounded normal.

The scientists report that they found a safe way to get Zebra Finches intoxicated. They also believe their results demonstrate the bird’s potential for further studies of how alcohol affects human speech. Prediction: future research will take place in a karaoke bar.

*According to the researchers, no Zebra Finches were harmed in the making of this study. Except, perhaps, their pride on the morning after.

Written by Meredith Mann
The lowly Red-winged Blackbirds in suburban New York triggered Meredith Mann's interest in birds. Five years later, she's explored some of the the USA's coolest hotspots, from Plum Island in Massachusetts to the Magic Hedge in Chicago to the deserts of Fallon, Nevada. She recently migrated from the Windy City (where she proudly served as a Chicago Bird Collision Monitor, rescuing migrants from skyscrapers and sidewalks) to Philadelphia, where she plans to find new editing and writing gigs; keep up her cool-finds chronicle, Blog5B; and discover which cheesesteak really is the best. And she will accept any and all invitations to bird Cape May, NJ.