Monday, 21 April 2008

Bird concerns

Yes, this post proves what a nerd I really am. I am worried about the birds in my neighbourhood. These fellows are an old concern:

They just don't sing the way they used to. The Parus majors in Helsinki have been doing it for years: instead of singing tet-tet-tew, these days they only do tet-tew. Ornitologists have argued that the Parus majors are feeling the pressure of urbanisation, and feel like they are having to haste themselves. They are stressed out, and don't have the time or the energy to sing properly. Well, this is old news.

This is news though: the Fringilla coelebs have started doing the same thing. I noticed it today when I walked to the train station.

The arrival of the chaffinch is one of the most definite signs of spring, and its singing is one of my favourites. It bubbles and flows like a fountain. It is not too complicated, but just full of deep joyful sounds and energy. For the past few days I have been wondering why they sound different. I realised it today. They are leaving sounds out just like the Parus majors. What is this world coming to, when even birds are so stressed out that they can't communicate properly?!

Images: Wikipedia


Vasiliisa said...

Maybe parus majors are protesting because they're called "great tits" in English?

I know I would be

Anonymous said...

Awww...what beautiful little birds! Do you know what is amazing, Waves? These are European birds, and so they seem so exotic to me, their colorings so unique and special and rare...and yet they may be the most common little birds where you are from. The first one looks a bit like our American chicadee (the chicadee is my favorite bird...and yes! I do have a list, geeky as that sounds...the list is as follows, AHEM:
1 Chicadee
2 Cardinal (the brillaint red in winter is soo lovely, and spirit-lifting)
3 Robin
4 Cedar Waxwing). Do you have a favorite, Waves? The Chicadee has several distinct calls, one is...its name! Its cry is "chic-a-dee-dee-dee"'s so sweet. It's a friendly little Mom used to feed birds year-round, and the chicadees would alight on her hand, and eat from her palm...she said they seemed as light as a breeze (though I've tried over the years, I've never been lucky enough to have any land on my hand). And it is indeed very sad how we affect Nature, and how these poor, pure, beautiful creatures are affected by the stresses we impose on our surroundings. I think that must make you so sad, when you hear a bird's incomplete call...the poor things must be so confused, and uncertain, themselves. I think it is amazing that you know them well enough to have recognized the differences in their calls...I really know only 2-3 bird calls, and beyond those I will say I only have the ability to tell a bird from...a dog! :)
And thank you for noting that you appreciate my comments...I had been so worried that my long notes must have been driving you bonkers. When you talk about environmental stresses and how they affect the little creatures around us, we know that the difficulties and stresses of daily life affect us as well...the world can be such a hard place, at times, and I think in a way our own personal calls (if you will forgive this awkward comparison) are also affected...the way we as a species treat others around us, how people can be so short, and uncaring...when I come to your site, Waves, there is never any meanness, or pettiness, or sarcasm. There is openness and honesty...there is fashion and appreciation for family...there is kindness and concern...and there are cufflinks and pictures of pretty little birds. And there are the personal pictures and very interesting words of an exceptionally intelligent, and lovely young woman. It is like a breath of fresh air, stopping by your place each day. So I am very happy that you enjoy my comments...and I promise to comment as long as you keep writing! :) Be well, Waves, and have a wonderful Tuesday, Chris R.

a cat of impossible colour said...

Wow, that's so sad. I know the crazy way we're all living is stressing out every living thing on the planet, but if it's affecting birdsong ... well, that's just heartbreaking.

night.owl said...

That is so so sad. Such a shame. I love birds, and how the towny birds live among us, apparently not too affected by our ways... until now. I love how you can recognise their different songs.

The Waves said...

vasiliisa: you just had to say that, didn't you... :-) I tried to crack a joke about it on my post, but just couldn't do it in the end. :-D

Chris R.: yes, you guessed it, the birds I was talking about are more common than sparrows here. I know what you mean though, every single time I have been to the US I have gotten nervous because I don't recognise the birds around me. And when I ask people what the birds are called, no one seems to know... Maybe everyone just skips biology classes in the US..?
Out of your list of favourites, I only recognise the cardinal and the robin. The other two I need to google at some point. And yes, I do have favourite birds too. I think I will write a special post about that at some point, as well as about my strange past as an active bird-watcher...

a cat of impossible colour: it really is sad. In the countryside these birds still sing the way they used to. All this urbanisation is just way too stressful for living creatures, including us humans...

night.owl: your name reminds me: it's crazy how these days you even have huge owls getting cosy in the centre of Helsinki. It's probably a combination of them not having enough forest to live in as well as mice, rats and rabbits living in urban spaces. And where there are small mammals, there are owls...

Anonymous said...

:) I consider having a past in active bird watching is something of honor, and not strange at all! I wonder, Waves, every single person I know who loves birds had a most cases their own Mom, or a grandmother...who was a bird lover, and who indoctrinated them into birdwatching at an early age; a person who made them appreciate the beauty, and sweetness that birds possess (well, the sweeteness is somethingwe add, in our love for them, but you know what I mean). My Mom was a bird lover her whole life...she kept a pair of binoculars by her reading chair (my love of reading came from her as well...these are not genetic inheritances, but we also obtain so much of who we are by the environment our parentshe s raise us in), and she listed each new bird that passed by her window...sometimes in might be a year or more between the sitings of a unique new breed for her, and she was always so full of joy whenever she did spy a new bird in her trees, or at one of her feeders. So, yes please do write a post about your...favorite intriguing past as an active bird watcher...and I'd also love to know if there was one person who inspired this love of birds in you. OK, if I don't stop writing to you, you will have no social life at all! I'm sorry if my comments are way too long, Waves. Take care, Chris R.
ps--sorry, last note...I have no idea why Americans--as a whole--seem so indifferent to Nature. There are many of us who do love everything wild, and natural and beautiful, but there are just as many more who you couldn't pay to walk through a field or moutain trail, observing the beautfy of the natural's really sad, how much we have lost of Nature.

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