1 Tahrcountry Musings: Sound pollution affecting wildlife

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sound pollution affecting wildlife

I was disturbed to read some of the latest findings on how sound pollution is threatening the existence of wildlife.
Have you tried to hail someone amidst the cacophony of blaring sounds? It is pretty tough on your vocal cord. Exactly the same thing is happening to birds calling out for its mates. Biologist Henrik Brumm of the Free University of Berlin has found that male territorial nightingales in Berlin had to sing five times as loud in an area of heavy traffic. Henrik is sure that this could be affecting their vocal musculature and he wonders what is going to happen in future if the noise levels keep going up.
Bernie Krause, a bioacoustics expert has collected over 3,500 hours of sound recordings from the wild. Bernie calls it Soundscapes. In the early recordings each animal had its own niche, its own acoustic territory, akin to an orchestra. Noise from airplanes, automobiles and other blaring sounds produced by man has affected this perfect scenario. At least 40 percent of those natural symphonies have become radically altered.
Extraneous sounds can mask some of the quieter yet important sounds of nature like footfalls and breathing. It is these sounds that that predators latch on to, to catch prey. The prey uses it to escape predators.
So the whole equation of nature is undergoing changes due to man’s inexorable drive for progress. We have the danger signals. It is time to do something about it at least in areas near wildlife reserves.

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