Noise pollution messing up mating calls of birds

  • Radhika Nagrath, Hindustan Times, Haridwar
  • Updated: Mar 11, 2015 00:46 IST

Urban noise pollution is killing the love life of birds and may slowly wipe out some of the rarer species, researchers attending an international seminar warned on Tuesday.

Female birds in cities are missing the mating calls of their suitors as the chirp, twitter or squeak of male birds are getting drowned in the cacophony of noise from factories, vehicles and other deafening symbols of modern living.

“Because of noise pollution, the female bird is unable to hear the song of the male counterpart, which is affecting the reproduction process of these birds. Unable to receive the voice, the females discard the males considering them unfit,” said Dinesh Bhatt, an executive member of International Bio-Acoustics Council in the UK and professor in Haridwar’s Gurukula Kangri University.

Bhatt is coordinating a 10-day workshop on avian biology at his university attended by nearly 25 scientists from Germany, Poland, the UK and Russia.

The workshop is organised by the university, the Science and Engineering Research Board and the Department of Science and Technology.

In India, birds are quitting their comfort zones as forests are quickly morphing into villages, and villages into unruly cities.

At the workshop, professor Hans-Joachim Bischof from the University of Bielefeld in Germany said: “With modernisation and fast-paced industrialisation, the singing birds are losing their power of communication.”

And one of the indisputable victims of noise pollution was the house sparrow.

Haridwar and surrounding areas, too, hold a surprise: sparrows are making a return to some of the places.

“Our team is engaged in collecting the database of the house sparrows returning to their habitats in Jagjeeetpur village and areas around Haridwar,” says Bhatt.

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