Frequency Characteristics of Urban House Finch Songs

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Dakota Hawkins, Westminster College

Arts and Sciences

Abstract. Previous studies have documented effects of urbanization on the behavior, reproduction and survival of wildlife. Specifically, noise pollution in urban areas has been known to mask communication among several avian species. In a previous study in Mexico City, House Finches increased the frequency (pitch) of their songs to help mitigate the effects of low frequency urban noise. To document the average minimum frequency of House Finch song in Utah, we recorded House Finches singing from May 2012 to August 2012. Three sample sites with 1 km radii were established in Salt Lake City, Utah while a fourth site was sampled in Logan, Utah. Ambient sound was recorded at locations where songs were recorded to measure urban noise. Average minimum song frequencies and ambient noise were calculated for three sites. Frequency measurements were not significantly different among the three urban populations. Future studies will compare the minimum frequency of these urban populations to nonurban populations and investigate syllable structure and use.