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Fighting noise: city birds sing louder


Scientists have found that birds in cities sing louder to drown out noise from cars, construction sites, and other sources of noise. We recently reported that, on the contrary, the influence of human beings makes the sounds of nature softer - what is actually right? Because of noise: blackbirds and other birds sing louder in cities - Image: Shutterstock / Geanina Bechea

"Sound biologist" Bernie Krause had only impressively illustrated how nature's influence affects nature through the use of natural sounds. The morning biophony on a forest meadow became quieter as soon as humans interfered with nature, frogs quacked quieter due to aircraft noise.

Birds in the city, however, seem to have got used to the high noise level. In this way, they have found a very unique and simple way to counter the man-made influences: In contrast to the croaking frogs, they simply sing louder to drown out the traffic noise and to be heard by their peers. The bird experts at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen found that out, reports the "Hamburger Abendblatt". But those who now fear that the poor little birds have to scream their throats out of their bodies can rest easy. To be able to sing louder, they use a simple trick: they simply select tones with a higher frequency so that they can chirp louder without great physical exertion. Ornithologist Henrik Brumm, head of the research project at the MPI, warns the Hamburger Abendblatt, however, that a limit could be reached at some point: "However, we do not yet know the volume limit for the individual species. From a nature conservation point of view, it would be important to know which noise limit the birds can no longer get over, because at some point they will mind ".

Why the birds are drawn to the city at all is not yet entirely clear. After all, for the blackbirds it is assumed that they enjoy, for example, the evergreen hedges and the abundance of food thanks to irrigated gardens - for sufficient earthworms, some birds like to sing a bit louder.

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