Do Birds “Hear” Their Way Home?
U.S. Geological Survey geophysicist Jon Hagstrum believes birds may navigate home in migration by using Earth’s “low-frequency sound waves to identify the ‘address’ of home.”
How would that work?
“They are imprinting on the characteristic sound” of where they live, he told a crowd this week at a lecture at USGS headquarters in Menlo Park. “The terrain has characteristic frequencies. I think that is the sound they are listening to.”
Birds may even perceive the world as a vast sonic environment, hearing many frequencies bouncing off different landmarks, such as mountains and buildings, generated by the Earth’s movement.