Soundbites is a weekly (biweekly, occasionally) feature of the coolest, newest bioacoustics, soundscape, and acoustic research, in bite-size form. Plus other cool stuff having to do with sound. Lots of birds this week, it turns out!
Humans and hermit thrushes show convergent “song cultures”: this is a cool one, and a little complicated. Apparently people have long debated the human preference for simple integer harmonics in our music–these are what generate our scales, both Western and non-Western. It turns out that hermit thrushes also prefer simple integer harmonics, and it’s actively selected for. While this isn’t prevalent among all birdsong, it’s interesting to see that there’s a sort of convergent evolution of this “song culture”!
Birds are impacted by road noise on their autumnal migration routes: a lot of work has been done on birds in springtime (since that’s when mating tends to happen), but these researchers found that birds also prefer quieter areas on their autumnal migration route too. Unless they’re insectivores, in which case they didn’t care.
Fun link of the week is courtesy of Holger again, who is finding the best stuff on the interwebs. Did you know that the European Space Agency just landed a spacecraft on a comet?!? SO COOL! Here’s another thing I didn’t know: comets sing!! Follow the link and you can hear a comet singing!