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Alex Douglas-Kane shares her experiences and understanding of Discover Nature Awareness

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Bird Language is it changing?

Over the years I have read about bird language and how it is changing. Researchers have over the years been investigating into the regional accents many birds seem to have and it has even been said that city birds are or have changed their song so as to be heard over the noise pollution of the traffic. As a keen birder I have always been aware of minor differences between the birds in the various regions here I the UK.

However, something took place the other weekend that was completely new to me, in fact I have slowly been aware in recent times that things are not quite the same as before. I was teaching on a tracking course for a friend and while out doing one of the tracking exercises I heard a bird directly above me. I did not recognise the song so I looked up to see what it was and to my complete surprise I was looking at a Great Tit singing a song that I have never heard them sing before, it could have been a song from an African bird but as far as I am aware Tits do not mimic other birds not like Jays or Warblers for example.

So , I made a mental note of this and then the next morning in the same wood I heard another bird this time it was a blackbird whose song was partially different from the norm. And just this weekend I was on the coast at Penzance working with another friend on a Natural Awareness exercise and my attention was drawn to a Rock Pipit who did not sound like a Rock Pipit to me.

So what is going on here? Well I figure one of several things, either the birds really are changing their song, perhaps in response to the changing times that we find ourselves in or my hearing is changing with my age and I am now picking up on sounds that I was unable to detect before?

Picture: Male Great Tit

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