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D r e a m w a t e r
Bird Sounds Research Institute


In the summer season of 2001, extensive research has been done after the sounds of birds. The main goal was to find out weather birdsong contained information that would reveil the true level of communication. Three levels are to be distinguished:
1. Biological. The birdsong is merely containing information on the sex of the bird, or it can be a basic alarm call.
2. Seasonal. The bird can express weather it is in the mood for copulation, much like (instrumental) pop music.
3. Communication as in speech. Here the sounds are words, words that do have a meaning and a syntax, and we should actually refer to bird song as bird speech.


Here on the East Coast of the subcontinent, we did research with a bird that didn't breed here 20 years ago, but is growing in numbers rapidly. The local population is very happy with that as it 'sings' a beautiful song. It's name is can hardly be pronounced: Hollandse Merel. It is supposed to mean something like "German Sparrow".
 
Hollandse Merel, dead and living spiecies Dr. Fohsoork

Our researcher Dr. Fohsoork developed a program to slow down a bird sound so that it becomes understandable to the human ear. The Hollandse Merel was a pleasant subject for this type of research, as it was easy to record, and it was easy to process. Results were ready in just over an hour on our G3/400Mhz Apple. Here you can see the graphic representations of 2 calls (row 1), each of them processed (row 2). Look at the graphs of the lengthened sounds. The do not exactly look like words, do they?

Our conclusions were as follows:
1. Birdcalls are very repetitive, so you might conclude they are musical. But the pitches used, do not refer to any of the 7 musical scales.
2. Birdcalls, even if heavily processed in order to be meaningfull to the human ear, do not sound like words at all. Therefor, we conclude that birdcalls are only level 1 communication!

Listen to our recorded and processed sounds.
alarmcall original
alarmcall processed
call3 original
call3 processed



 

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