A new study has found that birds, who have been given alcohol even in the low quantity, face trouble in chirping and singing their songs as drinking makes them slur their words just as humans do when they are drunk.
With the help of the study, the researchers were able to better understand the speech impairment effect of the alcohol on cognitive function.
The study, conducted by the researchers at the Oregon Health and Science University, helped in testing the effects of alcohol consumption on the birds’ communication skills. For the study, the team selected zebra finches as these bird species are known to better understand vocal learning in humans.
Christopher Olson, study researcher, said, “We just showed up in the morning and mixed a little bit of juice with six percent alcohol, and put it in their water bottles and put it in the cages.”
“At first we were thinking that they wouldn’t drink on their own because, you know, a lot of animals just won’t touch the stuff. But they seem to tolerate it pretty well and be somewhat willing to consume it,” Olson said.
The researchers found that just the slightest of buzzes brought changes in the features of the chirping of the birds. It was found that the birds’ voice became a bit fainter and slurred upon alcohol consumption.
“Most birds likely just get a bit tipsy and very few people would be able to pick them out as intoxicated. However, every now and then, some birds just overdo it,” said Meghan Larivee, an Environment Yukon researcher.
The study’s findings are detailed in the journal PLOS ONE.