Scientist uncovers dirty secrets about birds' sex lives

Wildlife News News Staff

Date: Sun. Jun. 13 2010 7:44 AM ET

Biologist Bridget Stutchbury was once introduced at a university lecture as someone who "probably knows more about sex than anyone in this room."

Her lectures to first-year biology classes, she writes in "The Bird Detective," often elicit giggles, elbowing and knowing looks.


Although she's an acclaimed scientist who has published groundbreaking papers on the lives of songbirds, Stutchbury has been able to popularize much of her academic output for general audiences. She is willing to put up with a few giggles to get her point across.

In her first groundbreaking book "Silence of the Songbirds," Stutchbury outlined how migratory songbirds are disappearing at a frightening rate. And now in "The Bird Detective: Investigating the Secret Lives of Birds," she focuses on the surprising mating habits of our avian friends.

The sex lives of birds? You'd think it dull, but thanks to recent advances in DNA testing, it's an intriguing subject worthy of a non-fiction detective tale

She discovered some dirty secrets in the nests.

"Most of the birds that we're familiar with in our backyards appear to be monogamous … you see a male and a female raising a family together," Stutchbury told CTV's Canada AM this week. "But the DNA testing we've done shows that about half the females cheat on their mates."

To read the full story and see TV interview:


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