Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Above the Noise

by Karen D. Swim

Are you struggling to be heard in a noisy market place? Do you feel like even if you yelled at the top of your lungs no one would notice or care? It may be time to sing at night.

In 2007 a report found that birds in noisy urban areas began singing at night in order for their melodies to be heard above the clamor of city life. Researchers at Sheffield University studied robins in and around Sheffield and discovered that the robins adapted the time of day they sang in order to be heard. The report joins a growing body of evidence that birds are changing their behavior to adjust to modern life.

Our world is noisy. In every industry there are a multitude of choices and it seems everyone is delivering their message and attempting to be heard. Whether you have a blog, book, product, service or are in the job market it seems that millions of people are already out there singing at the top of your lungs.

The robins are not singing to attract or please people. Robins sing to attract other robins and to ward off rivals. In the bird world they are among the earliest to join the chorus at dawn and the last to fall silent at dusk.

"Be like the bird that, pausing in her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing that she hath wings."--Victor Hugo
It can be downright discouraging believing that you cannot possibly be heard above the noise. Rather than give up, consider the robins. You don’t have to sing your song at the same time of day or even in the same pitch as your competitors. Adapt to modern life just like the birds by finding and singing your own tune at your own time.

Photo credit: Flickr.com | Kerri 2008


Anonymous said...

I like the birds trying to out do city part. Sounds like nature trying to balance things out.

Joanna said...

it's an encouraging thought, and I guess the reason why so many of us blog - to sing our own song, rather than having to shout.


Nadine Touzet said...

An excellent 'parable.' Yes I've heard birds singing at 3am in my part of the suburbs. I felt pity for them, now I realize there is more it.

Words For Hire said...

@Vmohanty, I never cease to be amazed by the natural world. I was fascinated by the story and am glad I could share it. Thank you so much for stopping in and commenting.

@Joanna, you are so right. We sing our own song and hope that there are at least some listening for that particular melody. :-)

@Nadine Isn't that amazing? I never would have attributed the early morning singing to adaptation either. We can learn so much from the world around us can't we?

Thank you all for stopping in and listening to my song today. I cannot begin to express how much I appreciate it!-Karen

Anonymous said...


This is hilarious! You post reminds me....

Since we were kids, we came up with a sound we used to find our parents on the ski hill (or in crowded shopping malls).

We would go "Ah!". One syllable, really loud. It cuts right through the background noise.

People gave us strange looks, but it worked. We'd always find each other.

We still use that sound to signal each other. Even as adults!

Everyone should find out their own "Ah" signal in life.

- Friar

Words For Hire said...

Hey Friar! That is hilarious! When I was writing this I was thinking also of how in crowded places you find who you're looking for, because you are looking and listening very specifically for "their sound," much like you say the signal your family developed. Even in noise that signal is heard because the people it is intended for are listening. I grew up an only child so developed no cool signals like that but I always knew where my mum was, never let her out of my sight - which I'm sure must have been a total pain at times. LOL!

Ellen Wilson said...

I love this post! Good picture, Karen.

This is an interesting idea. I wonder how we could go about being heard with this in mind? When I think of the Net, I see people are on at all times of the day and night.

And yes, I do see us functioning in packs because we are social animals and we look out for eachother.

Birds of a feather, flock together!

Words For Hire said...

Ellen, birds of a feather do indeed flock together and make beautiful music! :-) For the past two weeks blogoland (hat tip to you, I've been using this term) has felt especially crowded. I feel like I am chirping away and no one can hear me. This week I just wanted to throw in the towel but this story had me thinking differently. I would love to hear your ideas about how we swans in the making can be heard above the din. Post at different times, hang together against our foe, hmmm, definitely worth exploring.

Melissa Donovan said...

Oh, I know these birds! They sing right outside my window and they are definitely being heard. Some of them are quite loud and sometimes they make me feel like I'm living in the tropics.

Words For Hire said...

Melissa, ha! I have geese that bark outside my window in the morning and it is not pleasant! I would prefer sweet birds, unless they woke me up too early. Although waking up to a tropical feel is exactly what I need these days. Better still, waking up in a tropical place!

Anonymous said...

@Karen and Melissa

I have these damned crows outside my house that scream at 6:00 AM.

Delicate song birds they are not.

Sometimes, I wish Nature should shut the $@#* up! :-)

- Friar

Darren Daz Cox said...

:) yea for the birds!

I'm happy to hear their songs at all hours!

Words For Hire said...

@Friar,oh the sound of crows would not be a welcomed sound at 6 am! I must admit that there are mornings when the Geese have been barking that I have not felt too kindly toward the animal kingdom. To top it off these geese are mean! They are obstinate creatures who chase you, and bark at you.

@Daz, ah spoken like a true artist! I love their song, after I'm awake. :-)

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