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Chirping of Birds Trumps the Honking of Car Horns

21 Jun. 2011 Posted by Hannah Mich

I am sitting in my living room with the windows open. I hear the low rumble of the train going by, which is about 2-3 blocks away; I hear the humming of the traffic passing my building 30 feet away; I hear the soft stomping of feet of the residents living on the floor above us. But what I struggle to hear is the cardinals, robins, finches and sparrows right outside my window on a tree branch happily chirping away. Even though their songs are often muffled by the everyday sounds or "noises" of the city, they are there persistently and enthusiastically chirping.

"...they are there persistently and enthusiastically chirping."
Now I do not consider all city sounds to be noises. For example, I do not object to the sound of laughing children playing at an area playground or beach. But I absolutely prefer the sound of the chirps and songs of birds outside my window to any car-horn, engine revving, and train rumbling. And I think most people would pick chirping birds over car engines any day; I think this is why many get away from the city - to get away from the "noise" that blocks out the things we really want to hear. Maybe, just maybe, we should try to get rid of these noises; instead of fleeing from them.

Birds have become adaptive. I read about some city birds changing the pitch of their chirping so it can be heard over the low-tones of traffic. Why can't we adapt and change our ways so that we can hear the sound of chirping birds. Maybe it is too much to ask considering many do not seem bothered by the fact that traffic and city noises often impair our own ability to communicate or talk. Of course our adaptive measure - SHOUT!

I feel that smells are just as significant as these sounds we often fail to really hear. I want to be able to walk around my neighborhood and smell the "clean" and "fresh" air blowing off Lake Michigan, the food cooking at local restaurants, and the scent of the lilac bushes on the corner. Instead, I often get hit with the smell of exhaust, tar due to road construction, and sewage.

Many have accepted this as a trade-off to living in the city, and anyone who complains is told, "leave if you don't like it". But why does it have to be "like it" or leave? With all this technology and progress we have made as a nation, I find it baffling that I cannot simply enjoy the sound of the birds chirping just outside my window while I work on my laptop.

Are these the little sacrifices we have had to make in order to have progress? Or have we not progressed forward enough to realize the importance of maintaining such simple pleasures?



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