Soundscapes and anthromes: A review of proximate effects of traffic noise on avian vocalization and communication

Amy I. Oden, James R. Brandle, Mark E. Burbach, Mary Bomberger Brown, Jacob E. Gerber, John E. Quinn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


Across anthromes there has been an increase in the number and miles of roadways with a corresponding increase in vehicle traffic. Roads and associated traffic and traffic noise has been shown to affect avian abundance, breeding success, density and species diversity. An expanding body of literature has demonstrated that many bird species alter the way they vocalize in order to be heard by conspecifics and other species in response to the noise generated by traffic and other human activity. This review summarizes the literature that describes the effects of traffic noise on birds across anthromes. Documented changes in vocalizations due to traffic noise include shifts in amplitude, frequency, rate, timing, and duration of vocalizations along with a number of behavioral adaptations. Costs of altering vocalizations include the inability to attract a mate, poor vocal performance, not sounding like conspecifics, and being more easily heard by predators. Outstanding research needs in this area include (1) controlling variables that might affect negative impacts on birds along roadways, (2) analyzing vocal communication during the non-breeding season, (3) identifying consequences of and responses to acoustic masking (e.g., inability to protect a territory or faulty parent-offspring communication), and (4) applying research to mitigation efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAnthromes - Carved up by Humanity
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9780128160978
ISBN (Print)9780128160961
StatePublished - Jun 26 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)


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