Singing through the noise Tuesday at the nature centre

How birds compensate for the effects of urbanization on their communication discussed at Scout Island.

Singing Through the Noise: How birds compensate for the effects of urbanization on their communication is the topic of an evening program at Scout Island Nature Centre next week with Stefanie LaZerte.

LaZerte, a  fourth-year PhD candidate at the University of Northern BC who has completed biology degrees with a focus on animal behaviour at University of Toronto (BSc) and McGill (MSc) will give the presentation on Tuesday, Nov. 26, starting at 7 p.m.

She has been interested in animal behaviour ever since she was little and read classics such as Konrad Lorenz’s King Solomon’s Ring, Jane Goodall’s In the Shadow of Man, and, Hugh Lofting’s  Doctor Doolittle.

She is accustomed to dealing with copious amounts of noise from the three lively budgies who share her home. In the summary of her presentation LaZerte says bird song is an important form of communication and is used in territory defence and mate attraction.

However, urbanization may interfere with bird communication.

Urbanization results in habitat changes which can alter habitat acoustics, as well  as increased noise levels.

“We know that some birds can compensate for these changes, but we know little  about which species are capable of doing so or how,” LaZerte says.

“In this presentation, we will explore some of the ways birds are affected by  noise  and how they can change the way they sing to compensate, including a look at my research comparing the relative abilities two species of chickadee (black-capped  and mountain) to vocally adjust to urbanization.”

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