Next time GrrlScientist comes to visit, we’re going to have to record what she says early in the morning, and then play it back ten times faster — I have a suspicion that we’ll hear birdsong.
At least, that’s the way this video art installation by Marcus Coates works. He had people sing strange little nonsense tunes (you can hear one here) that, when played back at a greater speed, recreated the songs of wild British birds. Why, if GrrlScientist had only talked a little faster, I’m sure the whole house would have sounded like an exotic tropical island inhabited by parrots!
Bob O'H says
I thought New Yorkers spoke fast enough anyway. Speed her up, and you’ll just confuse the bats.
Holy crap. That’s the coolest thing I’ve heard all week. Of course it is only Wednesday.
Interesting how frequency-shifting makes many natural phenomena more familiar and accessible. I always wondered if you could get some frequency-shifting headphones that would let you hear bat calls or hummingbird songs..
And if we slow down bird song, it will turn out they are all saying…
How do the little birdies carry all of that recording equipment around with them? Clearly it’s time for all of those nanotech slackers to get with the program.
RavenT, Adjutant Minion says
“I buried Paul…”?
Actually, the parrots I occasionally bird-sit often perform a trio or quartet piece I call “Urban Soundscape”–one of them does “unanswered cell phone”, another does “car alarm”, someone else does “truck backing up”, etc.
When they all get going at once, it’s like having a little bit of Manhattan right in the house. Especially when I’m trying to sleep.
One of the mockingbirds in my yard picked up on my whistle for calling the dogs. Confused the heck out of the dogs for a while!
“And if we slow down bird song, it will turn out they are all saying…”
“so, whadda you want to do this evening, Marty?”
JohnnieCanuck, FCD says
You certainly can get such equipment. The Swedish company, Pettersson Elektronik AB makes them and can be found at http://www.batsound.com
I found them listed for sale at Bat Conservation International, which is based in the US. Prices from a few hundred to a thousand dollars, depending on features. They have lots of information for the curious and publish a small magazine. Find them at http://www.batcon.org
Douglas Adams covered that one:
“[Arthur Dent] learned to communicate with birds and discovered that their conversation was fantastically boring. It was all to do with wind speed, wingspans, power-to-weight ratios and a fair bit about berries.”
Keith Douglas says
Actually, as much as I admire our lost friend Mr. Adams, he was scooped by another genius of a humourist – Aristophanes. See his play, Birds.
Johnny Vector says
This one time? In college? The window was open and Shine On You Crazy Diamond Pt. 1 was on the turntable. Mr. Mockingbird outside the window decided David Gilmour’s guitar lead would sound better as a call and response. He was damn good, I have to admit.
Patrick Quigley says
That is just very, very cool.