As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Industrial noise makes Savannah sparrows change tune

Thursday, January 25, 2018, 5:54 PM - 

Whether in cities or in oil fields, we can often hear the chirps and trills of the birds that share our spaces.

But birdsong is more than just a soothing backdrop for our activities, it is a code that birds use to tell other birds about themselves, including details about the singer’s species, identity — and sexiness.

Humans, on the other hand, fill the air and land with their own noise, disrupting the communication between birds and other animals. This means that crucial information that an animal uses for hunting, keeping an eye on predators and maintaining contact with mates and group members may be lost.

Scientists like me can figure out which aspects of a bird’s life are under threat by listening for changes to specific parts of a bird’s song. Birdsong, in a sense, is a message in a bottle.

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