Have you ever taken notice of the birds singing in the morning as you leave your house for the 8am urban ecology lectures?
Dawn chorus is a phenomenon in which many birds have a peak in their singing activity during the dawn hours. Some researchers hypothesize that dawn chorus may play a role in territorial defense and mate selection. Others hypothesize that this phenomenon occurs because dawn is when microclimatic conditions are optimal for the propagation of sound over longer distances without being attenuation or disruption.
Though I have been staying in Raffles Hall over the past four years, I realized it recently as I leave my room early in the morning for the 8am lectures there is actually a substantial dawn chorus in Raffles Hall. Raffles hall is found opposite Yusoff Ishak House, in the centre of NUS. Accordingly to my block residental fellow, Professor Yap, whom is also a nature lover, Raffles Hall is home to quite a diversity of plants, which may be a reason why it is also frequently visited by a diversity of birds.
Photo of Raffles Hall
So I woke up earlier one morning before urban ecology lecture to record down the dawn chorus of Raffles Hall. If you have never notice the dawn chorus in your neighborhood before, here is a 16 minutes sound recording of the dawn chorus in Raffles Hall for your appreciation.
Note: Try clicking along the recording at different timings to hear different species of birds singing. Some birds start singing earlier while others start singing later.
Catchpole, C. K., & Slater, P. J. B. (2008). Bird Song: Biological Themes and Variations: Cambridge University Press.
After sharing the incident of how I was attacked by sparrows during my time in United States, I thought it would be interesting to find out if any research have been done to understand if human subsidization have caused birds to behave more aggressively in cities.
Though I did not find any papers or articles of people being attacked by birds for food, I found an interesting paper titled “Attacks on Humans by Australian Magpies: Management of an Extreme Suburban Human Wildlife Conflict ”
The authors found in their survey that approximately 80% of the 749 people reported to have been attacked by Australian Magpies (Cracticus tibicen) in their lives. Australian Magpie, similar to blue jay, is widely distributed throughout Australia. They also found that higher percentage of males in their survey were attacked by Australian Magpies. The magpies often attack the head of their victims and incidents have been reported that some humans have even been blinded by these attacks. Advertisements with preventive measures had been put up to increase the awareness of the pedestrians walking in the open areas. Most researchers hypothesize that these birds might be view walking pedestrians as invaders of their territories.
Warning advertisement: From: http://www.wildliferescue.net.au/help/living-with-magpies/
Though it is unrelated to the question that was brought up during the discussion, “If we put in more measures in canteens to reduce human subsidization, will Javan Mynas become more aggressive and attack humans over food ?”, It is still an interesting idea to ponder about since I have been attacked by sparrows over my sandwich before and this literature highlighted the problems that may arise if birds do start attacking humans frequently.
Jones, D. N., & Thomas, L. K., 1999. Attacks on humans by Australian magpies: Management of an extreme suburban human-wildlife conflict.Wildlife Society Bulletin (1973-2006), 27(2), 473-478.