Bird Song System

Image library of songbird nuclei—Area X, HVC, and RA—allowing comparisons examining sex differences and effects of various doses of estrogen given to females in post-hatch development.


About Bird Song System

Bird Song System is an instructional tool for teaching neurophysiology that requires only a computer.  Bird Song System is available for FREE, along with student and instructor tutorials.

Read the latest draft of the article about using a digital library of zebra finch brains to teach theBird Song System module:

Download Bird Song System Files

Students and Faculty can download the Image J Program, the Bird Song System Image Database and Bird Song SystemTutorials for free.

(1)  Download the Image J Program (from the NIH Website):  This program allows for quantification of structural areas.

(2)  Download Statistics Software (two options):  The following programs are available for FREE, and allow for effective analysis of data collected in this module.

  • JASP (a cross-platform software program with a state-of-the-art graphical user interface)
  • VassarStats (a website for statistical computation)

(3)  Download the Bird Song System Image Database:  In order to access the image database, you must first fill out the User Consent/Download Questionnaire (after which you will be directed to the download button).  Note that you will still be allowed to download Bird Song System even if you choose NOT to consent to anything.

Download the image database now:

(4)  Download the Bird Song System Tutorials:

(5)  View Lecture and Lab Materials:  The following are PowerPoint files that should serve as a guide to Bird Song System instruction.  Each lecture, taught by Dr. William Grisham (UCLA), is available with and without voiceover.

Lecture 1: Introduction to Bird Song System and organizational effects of steroid hormones.

Lecture 2: Background for students’ current study, and exceptions to the central dogma of organizational effects.

Lecture 3: Instructions on writing the abstract, introduction, and methods sections, and review of ANOVA and inferential statistics.

Lecture 4: Instructions on writing the results and discussion sections.

Lab 1: Overview of the study and analysis.

(6)  Watch the Lectures:  If you would like to view a series of lectures given by the teacher and developer of the Bird Song System module, please follow the links below.

For Faculty

Faculty members interested in accessing faculty-related materials will need to obtain approved access. While we are still developing this website, please email or using the email listed in your institution’s faculty directory so that we can verify you as an instructor.  Please include your first and last name, and the names of the modules you wish to access.


(1)  Practice running through the Bird Song System module with sample data, collected from UCLA Behavioral Psychology students in the Fall 2010 quarter.

(2)  Browse through a zebra finch atlas online:

(3)  Institution Review Board (IRB) exemption documentation.  (NOTE: Viewing this PDF file requires login.)

Need Help?

  • Email or (with “Bird Song System Question” in the subject line).

License Information

Modular Digital Course in Undergraduate Neuroscience Education—Revised: Bird Song System by Dr. William Grisham, Ph.D., is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Creative Commons License

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