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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 November 2007, 11:24 GMT
Study makes noises on bird song
Researchers want to hear from bird lovers to help
A 200,000 study into what happens when people hear birdsong is taking off.

Researchers at Aberdeen University will spend two years listening to birds to find out how their songs, calls and cries become a part of people's lives.

"Listening to birds: an anthropological approach to bird sounds" has received funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

The team is keen to hear from anyone interested in birds from across Britain and throughout the world.

Researchers from the Department of Anthropology will be carrying out the study.

We want to hear from anyone with an interest in bird sounds or who has a story to tell about them
Dr Andrew Whitehouse
Aberdeen University

Dr Andrew Whitehouse, the project's lead researcher, said: "We are interested in understanding how people come to focus on particular sounds and how they develop the skill of identifying songs and calls.

"We also intend to explore how bird sounds evoke time, place and season and how people experience and draw upon bird sounds in science, art, music and their everyday lives."

He continued: "One thing I'll be exploring is how technology shapes the way we hear.

"For most people hearing is an activity we do unaided, but new digital technologies are making it much easier for people to record sounds. I'm interested in the effects this has on our interactions with birds."

Show importance

Dr Whitehouse explained: "We want to hear from anyone with an interest in bird sounds or who has a story to tell about them.

"It could be a recent or distant memory; it could be about how you learnt to recognise a bird from the sounds it makes or a story associated with hearing a particular bird.

"You don't have to be a bird expert and you don't even have to know what sort of birds you heard."

Anyone who wants to submit details of a bird sound experience can do so on the project website -

Dr Whitehouse will write a blog throughout the project charting the group's work and encouraging people to contribute.

"This is research that can really help us to understand how people experience their world through sound," he said. "It will show just how important birds are to people."


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