News Stories

World Too Noisy for Bird Songs

Increased underwater noise is making it hard for whales to communicate. Now ambient noise is causing birds to sing louder, so they can still attract a mate.

Charles Q. Choi writes in LiveScience.com that bird songs are becoming faster and higher-pitched, so that other birds of the same species can hear them above the din of airplane and street noise.

Netherlands behavioral biologist Hans Slabbekoorn drove a car and rode his bike through Europe, in order to record a bird called the great tit, which has a song that sounds like "a bicycle hand pump."

He found that the songs of great tits living in 10 major European cities were shorter and faster-paced than the songs of the same birds in the forests. Slabbekoorn speculates that the city birds are pitching their songs higher so they can be heard above the low frequency traffic noise.

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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