Voices of the Forests: Bird & Squirrel Information Networks


Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 04 September 2019

 

Updated
Squirrels Listen, as Well as Squawking...

 

Lives of Birds

Interconnected Information Networks

Amazonian 'lookout' birds help other species live in dangerous neighborhoods,
San Francisco State University, May 22, 2018.

Backpacker Tech, Too!

Voices of the Forest
The specifics of bird communication identified above are interesting, as far as gaining theoretical knowledge of the specifics of forest "inter-communications" between species, but this information also contains a bit of practical insight that's valuable for backpackers on the trail:

Listening to the clicking and chirping voices of the forest informs the observant backpacker about things they would otherwise be unaware of.

Bird Whispers
My favorite use of sound is to keep birds calm by clicking upon my approach, to let them know (before they freak out) that I'm not a "hostile" force, so we can enjoy each other's company. A bit more entertaining is the situation of a line of ticked-off squirrels in a line of trees along the trail.

Squirrel Chaos
The first encountered will "sound-off," and generally curse at us for a while as we hike past their tree, until we arrive at the next tree, where the next pissed-off squirrel will "sound-off," take over their "shift" of chirping out a round of squirrel-curses at me as I hike past, with the situation repeating, until I've hiked past the local concentration of squirrels.

Each squirrel in the line knows I'm coming because they listened to, if not watched the previous squirrel's raucous outbursts, and are totally primed and ready to "let me have it" as I walk past.

Squirrels love to get excited... they are Nature's little tweakers...

Heck, every creature in the forest within earshot knows that something is passing through "squirrel-town," and they can determine my pace and direction by the progression of the series of squirrel "sound-offs." and squawkings.

Updated:
Science Confirms that the Forest Critters Listen to Each Other

Duh...

Squirrels listen in to birds' conversations as signal of safety,
PLOS, September 4, 2019.

The frigging squirrels respond to everything, not just predators. They are quite engaged with everything happening around them, and each other's behaviors, and quite freely express how they feel about it, vocally. They are quite expressive, I'd say having the range of swearing, in squirreleze, of a drunken Irish sailor.

(My contention is that everyone that can listen, listens to everyone else who can sound off...)

I give the squirrels as good as I get. I'm not mean, but I tell them I'm going to peacefully pass through "Squirrel-Town," and they can fuck themselves if they don't like it.
Now, I'm talking about squirrels deep in high mountain forests, not the semi-tamed critters that hang around campgrounds, parks, and mooch off people.
These mountain guys and gals are engaged in constant observation for coyotes, all the birds of prey, the mountain lions, and anything else thinking a squirrel tasty, and they are constantly talking about anything they see, and the rest of the forest is listening to, and taking note of their conversation.

 

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Forest Vibes

Clicking for Calming, Listening for Info

Hanging with Little Red at Tilden Lake

 

Tilden Lake Map

 

 

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Originally Published
2018-06-05

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