City Birds Sing Louder
Published on April 9, 2012 by Sara Foss

In her column at the DG, my colleague Margaret Hartley writes about how the birds in the city are singing louder, to be heard above the noise of traffic.

Here's an excerpt:

"When visitors from more populated areas sleep over at our house they are always surprised at how loud the birds can be. The mornings start with a call or two, then erupt into whistles and shouts as the avian opera fills the air. Nights are loud too, with woodcocks and owls trying to drown out the frogs and coyotes.

It reminds me of the city mouse-country mouse story, where the city mouse came to the country for peace and quiet but couldn’t tolerate the noise of birds and animals.

That city mouse would be surprised to know that birds in the city are louder than birds in the country.

A study published in this month’s Animal Behaviour journal found that city birds have altered their songs to be heard above the noise of traffic. Two biology professors — David Luther of George Mason University in Virginia and Elizabeth Derryberry of Tulane University in New Orleans — studied sparrows in San Francisco, comparing their calls from the late 1960s with today’s sounds, and tracking increases in traffic."

Click here to read the whole thing.

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