A closer look at our Creator’s work in Nature
How do birds chirp?
Quinn L., Age 9
Chirp, chirp, chirp. If I can chirp, does that make me a bird?
As you know, birds are not the only animals that can make a chirping sound. Crickets and grasshoppers can make a chirping sound using their legs. People can chirp making sounds with their mouths and vocal cords (a part of the throat called the larynx). But birds are the only animals with a specialized chirp-maker.
Birds in the order Passeriformes have a bony box-like structure called a syrinx that allows them to chirp, sing, whistle, and even talk. The syrinx is made up of membranes that can vibrate (like a guitar or piano string) as air passes over them, producing sounds. Birds use muscles to tighten or loosen the membranes to control the loudness and pitch of sounds made by the syrinx.
God’s Fingerprint in Creation
God gave the world its greatest singers when He created the syrinx in birds, because without a syrinx, birds couldn’t sing their marvellous songs.
The lower end of the syrinx divides like an upside-down Y where it meets the tubes (bronchi) coming from the lungs. Because of this Y shape, birds are able to do some really amazing things that no other animal can do. For instance, some birds can sing two different notes at the same time! Even the world’s greatest human singers can’t do that.
Can you sing and take a breath at the same time? You can’t, but a canary can. The syrinx’s special design makes it possible for birds like the canary to breathe and sing at the same time, something no other animal can do! God did something truly awesome when He created the syrinx.
Which bird knows more songs than any other? The brown thrasher can sing more than 2000 different songs! That’s a lot of chirps put together!
Get a clue! Search out these scriptures to find the names of some of the birds mentioned in the Bible: Matthew 3:16, Psalm 84:3, Psalm 102:7, Luke 2:24, Jeremiah 17:11. See if you can find out which of these are of the order Passeriformes.
Want to get involved in Creation Investigation? Columnist Tammy Burak wants to hear from you! Email your questions to email@example.com and we’ll do our best to find the answers.