2. Microphone, Recorder and Bird

James Lowe, Undergraduate Student Prize Winner 2023

The soundscape of an environment can influence our perception of that place, and how we interact with it. Considering the Rapid increase in urbanisation and industrialisation globally, the existence of a ‘natural quiet’ has become scarcer over time, meaning that maintained natural sites such as nature reserves now more commonly exist next to noisy infrastructure such as major roads and ports.

This display demonstrates how we can use microphones to record soundscapes of natural habitats near anthropogenic noise sources, and what we might hear. Birdsong can be disrupted by constant or sometimes sporadic road noise from cars, creating ramifications on future communication between birds and choice of places for nesting.

Whilst there is a dichotomy between natural and anthropogenic sound, nature reserves may also find that our perception of these places is negatively impacted when hearing both these sounds compete against one another, reducing our interest in visiting these sites for leisure activities such as exercise or birdwatching.