ARTISTS AND BIRDS
by Marilyn and Keith Davis
"Listen and Learn"
Somewhere there is a list of old people with hearing problems that the companies producing hearing aids have, and use. We receive adds in the mail most every week promising a free dinner if we will come listen to how we can get our hearing back. Hearing is pretty important. If we had only known the things we shouldn’t have done, that caused us hearing loss in the first place. Lucky for us we can enhance our hearing.
Birds rely on their hearing as a major focus point in their lives. Birds sing songs to notify other birds that they are healthy, that it is time for the mating season to begin, to give cries for danger approaching, or tell others . . . look at what food I found. Their hearing is so accurate that even the slightest change in the background noise will alert the bird to an outsider or possible danger. The ear is a complex organism that transmits vibrations into the ear where the sound is changed into electrical impulses by little hair like structures. When these little hair like structures become damaged in humans, they cannot be repaired. Only the ‘newfangled’ hearing aids can help us hear again. Birds on the other hand, having the same type of ear structure, have the ability to repair and even reproduce this section of their ear. Research is being done on many fronts, hoping to unlock the secret of repairing the damage to the human ear by studying how the bird’s body makes their repairs.
In the Appalachian Mountains in eastern United States, researchers found that bird songs of the same species vary in each different valley. This is true with the resident birds of southern Utah. Think of it this way . . . our birds are typical of the native people of St. George. People who are natives (like me) for example say, "I’ll pork my core on St. Garge boulevard." Birds too sing their songs with a native accent of the area, and besides the accent, they throw in whatever area noise they take a fancy to. It may be a squeaking gate, or a friendly dog barking. Mockingbirds do it best. A mature Mockingbird has many songs. If you are trying to listen to and learn a typical song, you may find it hard to get one that is true for all the same species.
Take yourself outdoors and listen to the birds this migrating season. See if you come across the same species with a different accent in their songs. For more information about birds or the upcoming Red Cliffs Audubon Monthly Meetings and Monthly Field Trips call 435 673-0996 or visit our home page.
If you wish to read more of the Artists and Birds articles, they are listed below.
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