Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

Environment

The Shout of the Wild

Animals are raising their voices in order to be heard above the noises of human civilization.

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Humans have become so noisy that some animals are changing their behavior just to be heard above the din. British biologist Andrew Foote at the University of Durham recently discovered that the calls of killer whales off the West Coast of the United States have lengthened significantly in recent years, apparently to counter engine noise from the growing fleet of whale-watching boats.

Meanwhile, behavioral biologist Henrik Brumm of the University of St. Andrews found that male nightingales have cranked up their mating calls as much as 14 decibels to remain audible over urban sounds. “Researchers believed that territorial birds always sing at the top of their lungs,” says Brumm, who did his research in Germany. “So I was surprised to find that nightingales do adjust their song intensity.” The payoff for belting: The most voluble nightingales probably have an easier time finding a mate and passing on their genes, he says.

    2 Free Articles Left

    Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

    Want unlimited access?

    Subscribe today and save 70%

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In