Monday, April 2, 2012

San Francisco Birds Sing a Different Tune.

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia
Who says birds aren't smart? Okay, I know. A lot of people. But, I assure you these people have no idea what they are talking about. Birds are amazingly savvy. I mean, I worked in an aviary for over ten years, and I am still constantly amazed by them. So, it didn't really surprise me to hear that birds of the same species sing different dialects, depending on the area they are from, kind of like the difference in hearing a Texan and a Bostonian speak English. It did surprise me, however, to read about a new study on the White Crowned Sparrow that shows the San Francisco singers of Sparrow have literally changed their song. It seems they have done so to be heard over their increasingly noisy surroundings.

According to a study by David Luther of Mason and Elizabeth Duberry of Tulane and Louisiana State University's Museum of Natural History, White Crowned Sparrows of the Presidio district of San Francisco have modified their song. The study compared songs from today with recorded songs in the area dating as far back as 1969. It seems that as the city streets grew louder, the birds began to rely more on their higher range notes, the ones that could be heard over the din. Eventually, they gave up singing the lower range of their song all together. I mean, really. Why bother if nobody can hear you? And with birds in matters of territory, it's important you be heard with no chance of misunderstandings, for heaven's sakes. So, the new dialect of Sparrow Speak has been officially named The San Francisco Dialect. You can read more about this over at Science Daily.

And speaking of birds, don't forget to swing by The Ravens Crossing, the young adult, sci-fi, fantasy project I write for. Tuesday is Morgan & Holly's story and some pesky birds will be making another appearance. There is still a chance to win a $20 gift certificate to Amazon. Hint: Look for the tab at the top of the page.


Andi Lea said...

That is really amazing that they've made an adaptation to their conditions. It also, reminded me of The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill-- only because San Francisco is so interesting. And it is a fantastic documentary film.

Amanda Corlies said...

Woot! :D A new documentary to watch. As you know, I love a good documentary. Thanks Andi. I can't wait to see it.