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Jul 09, 2017
Journal Of Comparative Physiology. A, Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, And Behavioral Physiology
Adult barn owl hearing is acute, but development of this sense is not well understood. We, therefore, measured auditory brainstem responses in barn owls from before the onset of hearing (posthatch day 2, or P2) to adulthood (P69). The first consistent responses were detected at P4 for 1 and 2 kHz, followed by responses to 0.5 and 4 kHz at P9, and 5 kHz at P13. Sensitivity to higher frequencies increased with age, with responses to 12 kHz appearing about 2 months after hatching, once the facial ruff was mature. Therefore, these altricial birds achieve their sensitivity to sound during a prolonged period of development, which coincides with maturation of the skull and facial ruff (Haresign and Moiseff in Auk 105:699-705, 1988).

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