Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Singing in the City

Everyone knows that city people are loud and in a rush, but do we ever think that city life can apply to the animal world. Now it can, recent research from Europe states, birds that live in the city change the frequency and length of their songs to over come the loud sounds of the city.

Ecologist Hans Slabbekoorn and his colleagues from Leiden University in the Netherlands researched bird songs in urban and rural environments throughout Europe, they focused their research on the male Great Tit, which lives in the surrounding forests and flourishes in European cities. The team studied 213 urban and 252 rural birds from 10 different cities and their surrounding forests. They found that the city bird’s songs were higher in frequency and shorter in length than their rural counterparts.

Slabbekoorn claims the change make sense because cities are full of low-frequency sounds made by the hustle and bustle of human city life, for example construction equipment. Making the change to a high-frequency sound allows it to stand out to the female birds over the sound of the city. This is why the Great Tit can easily breed and survive in the city better than other birds.

Posted by JLW (14)


At 10:08 PM, Blogger PWH said...

This post was very interesting to me because it relates to our squirrel lab. I believe that the human world has a huge impact on animals and how they behave. When animals are living in an urbanized environment, they tend to change their behavior to cope with changes to ensure their survival. I thought a lot about this during the squirrel lab we did in class. Just like the Great Tits, squirrels who live in urbanized areas like UMass, seem to change their feeding behavior in this environment for better survival.

Posted By Chamel413 (14)

At 3:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also find this research to be intresting. It is not hard to beleive and understand why these Tit birds had to change their behavior to cope with this type of enviornment(city). For example, if we take a person in a market place trying to talk to the sales man and other people talking to other sales man at the same time. The man is force to increase his voice(frequence) if he wants to be heard. In the same way, the birds have to change to a high frequency to survive because the city is too noisy for them.

Kebrewosen Densamo

At 4:31 PM, Anonymous Peanut Butter Jelly said...

This post was probably one of the most interesting posts I've read so far. It makes me wonder whether this is only true for the male Great Tit or also for other singing birds such as the White-crowned Sparrows. It is amazing how even birds change their behavior in order to fit in the human world where there's a lot of noise and pollution. Reading this we can also come up with a hypothesis that the female Great Tits' hearing frequency is probably higher for the female great tits living in the city than it would be for the female great tits living in rural areas. This was an amazing post because it can lead to many more observations and thoughts about many other singing birds.

Posted By PB&J


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