Do birds differentiate between white noise and deterministic chaos?

Abstract Noisy, unpredictable sounds are often present in the vocalizations of fearful and stressed animals across many taxa. A variety of structural characteristics, called nonlinear acoustic phenomena, that include subharmonics, rapid frequency modulations, and deterministic chaos are responsible for the harsh sound quality of these vocalizations. Exposure to nonlinear sound can elicit increased arousal in birds and mammals. Past experiments have used white noise to test for effects of deterministic chaos on perceivers. However, deterministic chaos differs structurally from white noise (i.e., random signal with equal energy at all frequencies), and unlike white noise, may differ dramatically depending on how it is produced. In addition, the subtle structural variation of chaos may not be distinguishable in the environment due to the attenuation and degradation of sound over distance and different habitat types. We designed two experiments to clarify whether American robins (Turdus migratorius) and warbling vireos (Vireo gilvus) discriminate between white noise and deterministic chaos. We broadcast and reā€recorded white noise and two exemplars of deterministic chaos—one generated with a Chua oscillator and the other generated using a logistic equation—at 1, 10, 20, 30, 40, and 80 m across open and forested habitat and used spectrogram correlations to compare stimuli along this degradational gradient. We found that sounds degraded similarly in both habitats...
Source: Ethology - Category: Zoology Authors: Tags: RESEARCH PAPER Source Type: research

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