City Din Forces Birds To Shout, Study Says

Urban chirps unintelligible to country fowl

The sounds of the city turn urban-dwelling birds into loud mouths who make no sense to their feathered brethren in the boondocks, according to a study.

The bio research journal Proceeding B reports in its latest issue that birds in the city tweet at a higher pitch than their country cousins. Researchers from Aberystwyth University in Wales recorded the sounds of a common garden bird, the great tit (that's really its name), in both urban and rural settings. Then they played back the voices of city birds to their country counterparts and discovered a language barrier.

Researcher Dr. Rupert Marshall told the BBC that rural birds were "not quite sure what to make of" the city chirping.  "Likewise," he continued, "we found city birds didn't understand the lower rural pitch."

It's the avian equivalent of "My Cousin Vinny," where Joe Pesci's city slicker character sounds like an alien to the judge played by Fred Gwynne:

Vinny: It is possible that the two yutes... 
Judge: Ah, the two what? Uh... uh, what was that word?  what word?
Judge: Two what? 
Vinny: What? 
Judge: Did you say yutes?
Vinny: Yeah, two yutes.
Judge: What is a yute?
Vinny: Oh, excuse me your honor. Two YOUTHS.

The study attributes the unusually high pitch in city birds to typical city din. Screaming sirens, honking horns, rumbling trains--the sort of stuff that forces any city dweller to shout a bit louder.

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