Can Hungry Deer Really Change What The Woods Sound Like?
Sure, it does sound like a weird question.
But think about it, strangely enough, deer really can affect the way things sound in 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 are translating into excessive feeding at certain physical heights, causing a noticeable lack of vegetation.
If all that vegetation was gone, would it change noise levels in the forest? It turns out, not that much as far as volume, but it did drastically change the sound quality. With all the missing leaves and twigs, bird calls, for instance, were traveling 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 good old Maine State Bird, the Chickadee, would actually benefit. They often work together to warn each other and also try to seek out other chickadee-dee-dees.
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 seem clearer, now you'll know why! Being a bit of an audio geek, I thought the whole process seemed wicked interesting.
Sometimes, changing frequencies can make something seem louder, even when technically it's not. Like the way sound travels over water. Sometimes you can hear people on a boat talking very softly. With nothing to get in the way of the soundwave, it comes right to you. With less vegetation, the sound will travel faster in the forest.
I'll bet though, that hunter would wish that it would somehow make the deer easier to find. Some things are just nature's mystery, right?