ABSTRACT

Wisenden et al. (2020) reported differential behavioral responses by male Red-winged Blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) to models bearing a red-epaulet visual signal with and without reflectance in the ultraviolet (UV) portion of the spectrum. O'Daniels et al. (2021) wrote a response, claiming that some of our key terminology was incorrect and that our methodology was potentially confounded, calling into question the veracity of the results reported in our study. Herein, we explain (1) our use of the term “control” to be the treatment that lacks the test variable of interest; (2) the labels UV+ and UV− refer to treatments that did, and did not, reflect in the UV; (3) that sunscreen likely did not contain methyl anthranilate, and even if it did, the amounts of sunscreen used were so small that it could not possibly explain the behavioral effects we observed over the distances between models and territorial males tested in the field; and (4) visual modeling would not enhance the interpretation or impact of our study. We do agree with O'Daniels et al. (2021) that additional field research should be done to better understand visual ecology and the evolution of avian plumage signals.

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