Listening Closely to the Birds

Welcome. Pre-dawn, the sounds in the home are few and predictable: the fridge lurching to a hum, then off once more; the steam knocking in the pipes. This morning, nonetheless, the pigeons, delirious with the expanse of darkish that was all theirs, thrashed in opposition to the home windows, landed with thuds on the A/C models. On function? By accident? I think about them sleepy and clumsy, or else exhibiting off to each other, their morning calisthenics.

Just a few years in the past, the artist Duke Riley affixed LED lights to the ankles of two,000 rock doves and carried out them in a twilight efficiency over the Brooklyn waterfront. “Pigeons, I think they actually are paying quite a bit of attention to us all the time,” Mr. Riley stated in an interview with The Times. “Just as people do, they’re constantly learning and watching and absorbing and taking information and paying a lot of attention to us, even if we’re not paying any attention to them.”

The debate between those that say “pigeons are rats with wings” versus those that argue that “pigeons are beautiful avian specimens that transported messages during World War II” is a low-stakes, high-passion standoff, one the place the public well being and security dangers pigeons pose are seemingly to tip the scales. Today, although, I’m appreciating their wing thumps and guttural coos, the soundscape they create.

The blogger Jason Kottke not too long ago wrote about Sounds of the Forest, a group of “aural tones and textures from the world’s woodlands” displayed on a map. Click wherever in the world and you’ll pay attention to a forest recording from that area. Our consideration as of late, six months into the pandemic, is seized by the huge modifications to our landscapes, the profound shifts we’re observing and present process. We would possibly, understandably, overlook to discover birdsong beneath, that the pigeons are nonetheless paying consideration to us whilst we hold transferring onward and into no matter is subsequent.

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