Weird Question: Can Hungry Deer Change The Sound In The Forest?
Sure, it does sound like a weird question. But if you really think about it, yes, deer really can affect the way things sound on the forest. According to a fascinating story at NPR.com, researchers and students from Vassar College wondered just that. The theory was, exploding deer populations throughout the northeast, are translating into excessive feeding at certain physical heights, causing a noticeable lack of vegetation.
They were curious, if all that vegetation was gone, would it change noise levels in the forest. It turns out, it didn't do much for the overall volume of the noise level in the forest, but it did drastically change the quality of it. With all the missing leaves and twigs, bird calls for instance, were travelling farther and with vastly increased sound quality.
This could be great for some birds, and not so great for others. Cardinals may be upset by the increased clarity of their calls, because they try to direct their calls to each other. Whereas the Maine State Bird, the Chickadee, would actually benefit because they often work cooperatively, warning each other, and trying to seek out other birds.
So it seems we're not going to suffer from louder birds, or huge amounts of noise pollution, but maybe as you're lying in bed in the morning, wondering to yourself if it's your imagination that the birds seems clearer, now you'll know why! Being a bit of an audio geek, I thought the whole process seemed wicked interesting. Now, if we could just quiet down those pesky woodpeckers!