City Bird or Country Bird?

by Kathryn on January 26, 2013

When I write an article and submit it, it’s just a text document. Sometimes I’ll send pictures or ideas for sidebars and other design elements, but I never have any idea what my article will look like until the issue comes in the mail several months later.

I’m in love with the design of my latest article for Odyssey Magazine – “Singing Over the Noise: How Songbirds Adapt to City Life.” The color and style of the title grabs your attention, I love the sketched city in the background, and then there’s this big daddy bird who looks totally in charge of the world. Perfect!

When researching this article, I spoke to scientists in the Netherlands, United Kingdom, and the U.S. Songbirds in Europe and American are totally different, so I had a lot of species to juggle. Thankfully, a lot of bird adaptations are similar. I learned that many bird species have evolved higher pitched songs so that they can be heard better over the low rumble of city noise.

Other fun facts:

  • In most species, only male birds sing (females keep quiet so they don’t lead enemies to the nest).
  • House cats and glass windows are the biggest dangers for city birds.
  • Many bird species have an easier time living in cities than in the country, but some species that can’t adapt to city life are becoming harder to find or even endangered.

I asked each scientist I interviewed whether he’d rather be a city bird or a country bird. Two gave rather long answers about the pros and cons of each, but one told me he’d be a city bird. I, on the other hand, am a country bird through and through. I’ll take trees and blue sky over buildings and crowds any day.

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