Ring tones replacing birdsong in wild

James Middleton

July 3, 2008

1 Min Read
Ring tones replacing birdsong in wild

Wild birds are beginning to imitate simple mobile phone ring tones, according to several experts in the field.

Matthias Werner, an ornithologist at the German government’s bird protection agency, suggests birds like the Eurasian jackdaw, the European starling and the Eurasian jay were brought into contact with mobile phone ring tones because of the increasing expansion of urban areas and the food opportunities provided by cities, as well and the prevalence of mobile phones.

“It’s in the nature of these birds to imitate the sounds of their environment that correspond to their own musical capabilities,” said Richard Schneider, of the NABU Bird Protection Centre, in the German city of Mossingen. “The song is useful for male birds not only in the search for a female or to mark its territory, but also as a deceptive manoeuvre when faced with potential dangers. For this reason, imitating environmental sounds is part of the daily lives of birds.”

However, most wild birds are unable to imitate the more complex polyphonic sounds that are present on newer mobile phones.

The experts agree that the fact the birds are imitating urban sounds does not necessarily mean the sound of more traditional birdsong will die out. However, European and North American universities are in currently the process of archiving natural birdsongs, just in case the human influence has a greater effect than anticipated. Potentially, this means natural birdsong could be reintroduced via recordings if it dies out in the wild.

About the Author(s)

James Middleton

James Middleton is managing editor of telecoms.com | Follow him @telecomsjames

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