Friday, May 18, 2018

White Noise And The Bluebird...Of Unhappiness

“The bluebird didn't realize what she was getting herself into when she chose her new home, about 75 yards from a natural gas compressor. It was only as the days and weeks wore on that the low whine of machinery started to take a toll. It was harder to hear the sounds of approaching predators, or even the normal noises of the surrounding world, so she had to maintain constant vigilance. Her stress hormone levels became skewed; her health deteriorated. She couldn't resettle elsewhere, because she had a nest full of hatchlings to tend. Yet her chicks suffered too, growing up small and scantily feathered — if they survived at all.”

So began the “science” article in The Washington Post. Really.
The piece went on to quote Rob Guralnick, associate curator of biodiversity informatics (!) at the Florida Museum of Natural History: “Noise is causing birds to be in a situation where they're chronically stressed. . . and that has really huge health consequences for birds and their offspring.” The article did admit it would be a “stretch” to say noise damages birds’ “mental health,” since “the animals have not been evaluated by an avian psychologist.” Thanks for clearing that up.
In a paper recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (get 52 issues plus a special year-end ‘bonus’ issue for just $99.95 if you call their subscription hotline now—ask for JorgĂ©!), Guralnick and his accomplices colleagues say there is a clear connection between noise pollution and birds’ stress levels. Guralnick termed this finding “acoustic degradation of the environment,” and added, “We think it is a real conservation concern.” There you have it, the science is settled!
The research examined 240 nesting sites surrounding natural gas treatment facilities at the Bureau of Land Management’s Rattlesnake Canyon Habitat Management Area, which, though uninhabited, is “dotted with natural gas wells and compression stations that emit a constant, low-frequency hum in roughly the same range as many birds’ songs,” according to The Post.
It was there, upon this vast tract of open land in northern New Mexico, that the scientists purported to find that the lady bluebird so tenderly described in the article’s opening paragraph… suffered from the very same physiological symptoms as a human experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder.
Newsflash: birds are nervous, they flit around and can’t sit still, they poop all over and don’t live particularly long. There’s a good reason for that. It’s not because of PTSD, it’s because they’re effing birds, you morons!
Noise is causing birds to be stressed? Have the scientists ever been near a flock of geese or around a murder of crows? And what of the “constant, low-frequency hum in roughly the same range as many birds’ songs?” Unlike the shrill, deafening cacophony of geese and crow flocks, why would a low-frequency hum in the same range as birds own songs drive them nuts? Does their own singing cause them undue stress?
As for the assertion that noise is causing birds “really huge” health consequences, do real scientists use terms like “really huge?” Isn’t “huge” alone more than enough to make a clinical, unbiased point? Why risk sounding like a sophomore on a chat line?
And don’t try to tell me that “The bluebird didn't realize what she was getting herself into when she chose her new home, about 75 yards from a natural gas compressor.” There’s a reason that she…chose her new home, about 75 yards from a natural gas compressor, dumb asses. Or, did evil 
Republicans conspire to turn off the compressors until Ladybird selected her nesting site, luring the poor marginalized creature into the realm of Hades?

                (Don’t get me wrong, I love wildlife. I love birds. Honestly. I actually served as an amateur ornithologist and bird guide at a nature center near my home for parts of two years as a youth. I just don’t like coercion, lying, bullying and bullshit, i.e. the left’s habit of reading us bedtime stories as if they were settled science).  

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