City Nature


Life Will Find a Way.

Amongst the city noise, some birds adapt, some seek a more quiet place to sing and some just won’t give up. Corellas come to visit sometimes, mainly in the spring, they are such effective communicators that their calls can be heard over the loudest of construction sites.

Bernie Krause is a musician, author, soundscape recordist and bio-acoustician, who coined the term biophony and helped define the structure of soundscape ecology. He was interviewed by the Guardian about his book The Great Animal Orchestra.

Soundscapes, he says, are the most accurate way to understand the health of a whole habitat. He says he can tell how healthy a place is from a 10-second recording. Conservationists, he says, could learn how to assess ecological health from sound recordings. “It’s easy to do. It’s cheap. I don’t know why they don’t,” he says.

The damage this is having on animals is immense, he says. Some animals may adapt successfully to humanity, but the vast majority cannot, and run away. Noise may weaken immune systems in mammal and fish and compromise resistance to disease, he says, just as elks and wolves suffer from exposure to snowmobile noise. Increasing evidence finds that whales and cetaceans are profoundly affected by the sound of boats and underwater mechanical noise. “When the noise signal is loud enough, it may cause physical damage or death,” he says.

For the full interview click here

Birdsong and Anthropogenic Noise

If Bernie Krause wasn’t convincing enough, a research published by Leiden University in 2017 finds direct negative consequences of urban noise on birds.

“Two of the most important functions of avian acoustic signals are territory defence and mate attraction. Both of these functions are hampered when signal efficiency is reduced through rising noise levels”

Read the paper here

The Surprising Uses of Birdsong

Birdsong has some surprising benefits in transport, business and even helping combat the fear of needles…The BBC reports:

“People find birdsong relaxing and reassuring because over thousands of years they have learnt when the birds sing they are safe, it’s when birds stop singing that people need to worry. Birdsong is also nature’s alarm clock, with the dawn chorus signalling the start of the day, so it stimulates us cognitively.”

Link to article

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