Animals have developed a variety of strategies for dealing with increasing noise pollution in their habitats. It is known, for example, that many urban birds sing at a high pitch to differentiate their song from the low-frequency sound of road traffic.
Blackbirds also find an abundant food supply in the city. © Michael Dvorak
However, as scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology discovered, this is just a useful side effect. The real reason for this behaviour is that songs at a higher pitch are also automatically louder. The birds can make themselves heard far better in city noise by increasing the volume of their song than by raising its frequency.Despite the numerous unfavourable environmental conditions they encounter there, many wild animals have colonised cities as a new habitat. In cities they must deal with greater numbers of humans and with more light and noise pollution than they encounter in rural settings. However, the urban habitat also offers certain advantages, for example a more abundant supply of food and new breeding options. Many animals have thus adapted surprisingly well to city life.
ContactDr. Henrik Brumm,
Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Published online January 8, 2013 doi: 10.1098/rspb.2012.2798
Dr. Henrik Brumm | Max-Planck-Institute
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