When we consider the sounds of nature, we think about the crickets, the birds, thunder storms, and wind, etc. – but, have you ever wondered what nature thinks of our sounds? Humans make a lot of noise. Think of our aircraft noise, road noise, machine noise, and even the sounds of our voices. Luckily, some human noise causes rodents and large mammals to stay away, thus protecting them, even as we hurt their environments as we encroach on their territories.
Some mammals are getting used to our sounds, they’ve learned to adapt to them. These animals have grown up with these sounds all around. Some animals that hear us are curious and come to take a look. Many feel that if they hear us, they are safe from their normal predators. Just as rabbits and birds hang out together, both knowing that if a predator comes near the other species will run and thus, warn them. Predatory birds and some predator animals like the human noise as it covers their own noise and stalking activities and distracts as they get close to go for the kill.
Not all human noise is wanted. Much of it irritates wildlife, for instance wind turbine blades making ultrasound, and train noise as it rumbles the ground, as well as freeway and airport noise. Whereas we have come to appreciate the sounds of nature, we’ve not availed our noise to be as pleasant to the other participants in our environment. A good case in point is ship and sonar noise to large sea mammals like whales. Our noise pollution even irritates us humans – and it can cause “hearing impairment, hypertension, ischemic heart disease, annoyance, and sleep disturbance,” to name just a few listed by WikiPedia.
We should suspect these same types of problems cause angst and health issues in local wildlife and birds where we share space and territory. Many species sleep during the day and own much of our domain at night as they are nocturnal, sharing the space. If we disrupt their sleep during the day, this can cause unhealthiness in the food-chain. Humans use often use noise as a deterrent to keep animals away; gopher ground thumpers, deer whistles for cars, and short blasting sounds to keep birds from crops.
Humans consider the birds chirping and crickets’ ‘stridulating’ sounds as peaceful and part of nature. Just as those of us who live near the beach consider the sound of the crashing waves a soothing sound of tranquility. Everyone inherently knows this – no major revelation here, but in case you haven’t thought about it because you like in a highly developed urban area – consider if you will the.mp3 and CDs you can buy which feature sounds of rain, storms, howling wind, waves, and birds and crickets. These sound tracks are sold under the auspice of being able to help us meditate and/or destress.
Perhaps, animals that live in the city and rural areas hear our TV sets, music, and conversations as peaceful and normal. Maybe these sounds make them feel safe and content – that everything is normal and are thus, less apprehensive – with less fear. Maybe they miss those sounds when the power goes out and there is more silence? Maybe some animals find this to be troubling and thus, go on higher alert, changing their sleeping, eating and mating habits for a short while?
It’s obvious that humans have evolved alongside of nature, and that nature has been there the whole time evolving along with us. Everything affects everything else, so it stands to reason that our noise affects their well-being much more than we think, both on the negative and positive side of the equation. Please consider all this and think on it.