What Noises Can Birds Hear?


Birds are beautiful and majestic animals that mesmerize us. Maybe it is the sound of their unique chirping that greets each new day. Maybe it’s their amazing colors that mark them and give away more detail to what they are all about. Whatever it is that draws our attention to birds, we want to know more. 

For some of us this means setting up a window feeder to watch and enjoy them every day. Others want to take it to another level and actually own one or more in as a pet. Wherever you fit into the fascination with birds spectrum, did you ever wonder what it’s like from the bird’s perspective? Let’s explore some very important facts regarding these amazing animals of flight, from how they hear, what colors mean to them, to window feeders or even keeping them as pets. Following is everything you need to know about birds to get you started.

What noises can birds hear?

Birds have the same five senses that humans do, and hearing is a bird’s second most important sense second only to sight. In fact, their ears are located just behind and below the eyes. Their ears are shaped like a funnel in order to focus on sound. They are most sensitive to sounds that are in the 1 to 4 kHz range, though they can hear higher or lower frequencies. They are especially sensitive to pitch, tone, and rhythm changes that help them differentiate sounds, songs, and calls from other birds.  The shape of the specific species of birds also affects its hearing. Owls, for instance, use facial discs to direct sound toward their ears. Humans who want to attract birds for bird watching will learn the proper pitch and tone to imitate the calls that a bird hears.

According to the USDA Wildlife Services, what a bird hears is very important to monitor the world around them. The only sense more important is their vision. While they can hear at other frequencies, birds respond mostly to sounds in the 1 to 4 kHz range and are especially sensitive to pitch, tone, and rhythm. Compare this to the human range of 20 to 20,000 Hz., and like humans, their hearing can be damaged from exposure to extremely loud sounds.  Unlike humans, a bird’s ears lack the external ear or pinna. A bird’s ears are funnel shaped, located slightly below the eyes and covered with soft feathers, called auriculars. Birds don’t seem to be able to hear or react to ultrasonic or infrasonic sounds. They do respond to pitch, tone and rhythm changes as they use these to differentiate the calls from their own species that would warn of danger or announce there is safety or food. Some birds, like oilbirds or those who live in dark cave-like environments, use echolocation similar to how bats hear.

What sounds do birds hate?

There are a range of sounds that cause birds to fear and fly away. The call of a predatory bird, like the shriek of a hawk as well as some distress calls can make a bird become frightened and fly away.

Is there a frequency of sound that birds hate?

Very high frequency or ultrasonic sounds also frighten some birds. These sounds cannot be heard by the human ear and usually target specific types of birds without causing harm.

What colors do birds hate?

Color is important in the bird world since they rely on these clues to detect danger and other aspects of survival. For instance, colorful markings may be a warning against specific plant toxins or predators. Brightly colored fruit means that it is ripe and ready to eat. Bright flowers contain plenty of nectar. A bright plumage color may indicate a mature, healthy bird that will make a strong mate. Changing color of foliage means it’s time to migrate. There are many colors that birds see, and many use them to attract birds to their yards.

For instance, pinks and reds along with oranges and yellows will bring hummingbirds, while orange alone will attract orioles, yellow will bring goldfinches and warblers, and blue will attract bluebirds and blue jays. One color to avoid, however, is white. White alerts of danger, alarm, or aggression. Some birds use their white plumage to alert other birds of danger.

What smells repel birds?

Organic oils such as peppermint oils are extremely effective at repelling birds. Cayenne pepper as well as other odors such garlic and chili pepper are also known to work. Take a look at this article on What Smells Repel Birds for more information!


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About Us

We are avid bird-watchers who recently retired, allowing us more time to travel the world. Fortunately, we have managed to visit numerous countries around Europe, Asia, and America. Watching and photographing birds has been a passion for many years and we are making the most of the extra time on our hands!


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