[TN-Bird] Bird recordings in commercial and private residences

  • From: Dan Ellsworth <ellsy10@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "TN-bird@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <tn-bird@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2014 07:48:32 -0500

Hello all,
I was curious if anyone else has noticed a big increase in bird recordings 
being played in both commercial and private residences?  In the last two weeks 
I have come across these recordings three times.  I travelled to Florida for a 
couple days and the Marriott I stayed in played the sound of a hawk calling as 
well as distressed birds over a loudspeaker every fifteen minutes on all of 
their grounds and beach.  They do this because they do not want birds 
"bothering" their customers, especially the harassment from seagulls when 
people are eating.  I noticed that several of the hotels utilized these 
devices.  Then back in Knox County in Tennessee I twice came across these same 
recordings.  One was on a small Knox County family farm near one of my birding 
sites and the other was right down the street from me playing in someone's 
vegetable garden.  It was the same thing, calls from birds of prey and then 
other birds making distress calls.  My curiosity led me to observe the garden 
down the street from me as I knew this was only recently set up.  The first 
couple days there were no birds to be seen.  However, within a week there were 
birds in the area again and they were completely ignoring the recording.  
My question is this:  If the birds become desensitized to distress and predator 
calls would that not increase their mortality rates if they then disregard 
these calls when their is an actual predator or dangerous situation?  I also 
wonder if the hawk calls do not upset the resident hawks, especially the 
Red-Shouldered Hawks that have territories near my home that include the yard 
of the person with the recordings down the street.  
I did a search online and as an example I found the Bird-X website that states 
the following about their products:
"Recorded distress calls and predator cries warn birds to flee. Sonic bird 
control is safe, non-toxic, humane, and eco-friendly. Conditions birds to stay 
away long-term - See more at: http://www.bird-x.com/#sthash.xwvD9pb3.dpuf "
On one hand, maybe this is better than having people illegally poisoning or 
shooting the birds.  I also noticed that seagulls were not present at all in 
the Florida hotel grounds with the recordings.  I guess the good I can see from 
that is that the birds are not becoming dependent on unhealthy human food and 
may be forced to turn to natural alternatives.
Just curious if any of you know more about the impacts for better or worse 
regarding these devices.  For me personally, I am just tired of following bird 
calls that end up being recordings!
Dan Ellsworth
Knox County, TN

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