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Do Northern Mockingbirds Change Their Songs to Compensate for Urban Noise?
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 Material Information
Title: Do Northern Mockingbirds Change Their Songs to Compensate for Urban Noise?
Series Title: Journal of Undergraduate Research
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Creator: Patel, Puja
Robinson, Scott ( Mentor )
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2010
Abstract: Urban environments are characterized by increased anthropogenic noise. This increased low-frequency urban noise may interfere with the song transmission of resident birds. Because birds use songs for communication, territory defense, mate attraction, and predator avoidance, they must be able to adapt their songs to be heard in noisy areas to keep their territories and retain their mates. Based on previous studies of the adjustment of song in other bird species, we hypothesized that Northern Mockingbirds (Mimus polyglottos) adjust their song according to their habitat and urban mockingbirds sing at a higher minimum frequency than do non-urban mockingbirds. Singing male mockingbirds and ambient noise were recorded in urban (residential areas, parking lots) and non-urban (pastures and biological preserve) areas in and around Gainesville, FL. All recordings were digitally analyzed using the program Raven Pro, and the minimum frequency at which each male sang was calculated. The average power of low-frequency ambient noise (all sounds below 1.662 kHz, the highest minimum frequency at which any mockingbird sang) was calculated for urban and non-urban environments. We found that urban areas were significantly louder in low-frequency ambient noise than non-urban areas and that urban birds sang at a significantly higher minimum frequency than non-urban birds. In addition, there was a significant correlation between low-frequency ambient noise level and minimum frequency of mockingbird songs. Therefore, mockingbirds are able to adjust their song to more effectively communicate with each other, which should help them in territory defense, mate attraction, and mate retention. Thus, mockingbirds’ ability to compensate for increased urban noise may be a factor that allows them to successfully inhabit urban areas.
 Record Information
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID: UF00091523:00586

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