Researchers have shown that a marine birds can hear under water. This offers new possibilities for the protection of marine birds in trafficked waters. Seals, whales and other marine animals can hear under water. The cormorant also has this ability, which new research from University of Southern Denmark shows.
According to the biologists cormorants can hear under water the environment where it finds most of its food.
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From the Department of Biology at University of Southern Denmark have tested the cormorant, Loke’s, hearing. Loke lives at SDU’s marine biology research station in the Danish town Kerteminde.
About every tenth bird species in 800 species in the world hunts under water. And it may turn out that they too can also hear under water.
Hearing under water must be a very useful sense for cormorants. They depend on being able to find food, even if the water is not clear, or if they live in the Arctic regions where it is dark for long periods at a time. Loke’s hearing abilities are on with the hearing of the toothed whale and the seal.
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He can hear sounds ranging between 1 and 4 kHz, and it is in this range that fish such as sculpin and herring produce sounds. Both sculpin and herring are on the cormorant’s menu.
1 to 4 kHz not only the range fish sounds are found. There are various human-made sounds found in this range.
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Human-made sounds can disturb the ocean’s animals to such an extent that they cannot find food or communicate with each other. Problem for porpoises and seals for instance, and now it is potential problem for birds. It is certainly something we should be more aware of, says Magnus Wahlberg, Associate Professor.
Human-made sounds can be everything from spinning wind turbines and ship traffic to water scooters and drilling platforms. The SDU biologists planning more trials, and the next birds tested will probably be the common murres and puffins.