Change of tune: Research has revealed male GREat tits are having to sing at higher frequencies to make themselves heard, but unfortunately for them this makes them less attractive to the opposite sex It's not just humans that struggle to make themselves heard with the opposite sex in a city. Research has revealed male birds are also having to change their tune in a bid to find a mate. Scientists have found that male GREat tits are being forced to sing at higher frequencies to drown out the constant urban din of modern life.
But this is seen by the females as less attractive, and so those that sing at this pitch as well as those that cannot make their low-frequency songs heard are at risk of not finding a special feathered 'friend'. Wouter Halfwerk, of Leiden University in the Netherlands, carried out the research. His team recorded the communication between male and female GREat tits in a Dutch national park between April and May 2009 and 2010. They analysed the paternity of chicks and played the female birds recordings of male songs with different levels of background noise.
And they found that the birds that sang low-frequency songs were less likely to be cuckolded. He told the Telegraph: 'These data are critical for our understanding of the impact of anthropogenic noise on wild-ranging birds. 'This is because they provide evidence for low-frequency songs being linked to reproductive success and to be affected by noise-dependent signal efficiency.'