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Songbirds tweak their tunes in different ways to cope with clamor
Date:5/26/2011

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Durham, NC Some birds that live near noisy sites can alter their songs to deal with din. But closely related species with similar songs may tweak their tunes in different ways, says a new study led by Clinton Francis of the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in Durham, NC.

The study is part of a growing field that looks at noise pollution and its effects on wildlife. Honking horns, blaring sirens, and roaring machinery are particularly problematic for birds, Francis said.

Birds rely on songs to defend their territories and attract a mate. "When something interferes with their ability to hear each others' songs, it can lead to a communication breakdown," Francis explained. Noise can drown out other sounds in the environment too, like approaching predators, he added.

While some birds can cope with noise by altering their songs, less flexible birds may have to abandon
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Contact: Robin Ann Smith
rsmith@nescent.org
919-668-4544
National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent)
Source:Eurekalert  

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