Journal of Ecoacoustics

(ISSN: 2516-1466) Open Access Journal
JEA 2017, 1(1), 3; doi: 10.22261/jea.tlp6d

Vocalizing during gaps in anthropogenic noise is an uncommon trait for enhancing communication in songbirds

1 Calvin College, 3201 Burton St SE, 49546 Grand Rapids, United States
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 Jul 2017 / Accepted: 2017-09-17 / Published: 2017-10-26
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Abstract

Mounting evidence suggests that anthropogenic noise neg-atively impacts many wildlife species, including songbirds. One mechanism by which noise affects songbirds may be through acoustic obstruction to their systems of vocal communication. However, many species increase the amplitude or pitch of their vocalizations, which may partially mitigate the impact of high noise levels. When the amplitude of anthropogenic noise varies over time, such as near a moderate-use highway, short gaps between noise events may also provide an important oppor- tunity for communication. But, whether songbirds adjust vocalization rates rapidly to avoid overlap with noise is unknown for most species. We used acoustic playback to expose song- birds to simulated road noise during the dawn chorus in oth- erwise quiet habitats. We measured vocalization rates under ambient conditions and during quiet gaps embedded within playback of road noise to assess whether a community of songbirds, and nineteen individual species, vocalize more reg- ularly during noise gaps. There were no significant differences in community-wide acoustic output. Species-specific analysis revealed that only four species altered their vocal rates during quiet gaps in noise, but that the direction of the effect varied by species. Point count results revealed that birds generally remained on site for the duration of the experiment, suggesting that abandonment of noisy locations was unlikely to confound our results. In sum, increasing vocal output during short gaps in noise occurred in only a handful of species, perhaps con- tributing to the limited number of species that are found within noisy habitats.
Keywords: noise; bird; temporal shift; frequency; sound window; gap; behavior
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
CITE
Proppe, D.S.; Finch, E. Vocalizing during gaps in anthropogenic noise is an uncommon trait for enhancing communication in songbirds. JEA 2017, 1, 3.
Proppe DS, Finch E. Vocalizing during gaps in anthropogenic noise is an uncommon trait for enhancing communication in songbirds. Journal of Ecoacoustics. 2017; 1(1):3.
Proppe, Darren S.; Finch, Emily. 2017. "Vocalizing during gaps in anthropogenic noise is an uncommon trait for enhancing communication in songbirds." JEA 1, no. 1: 3.
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