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Birds Imitating Cell Phone Rings

Updated on June 21, 2010

If You Are Outside and Hear Your Cellphone Ringing, It Might Not Be Your Cellphone

Robin holding a worm to feed her young
Robin holding a worm to feed her young

When calling the outdoor cats for their food, I whistle instead of saying "here kitty, kitty," as a whistle carries a lot further than "here, kitty, kitty." Also, it doesn't seem as idiotic to be whistling as to be screaming "here kitty, kitty."

Over the last couple of Summers while outside whistling, there has been a mocker in the yard imitating me. When I first heard my whistle imitated, I looked for a human. Not seeing anyone, I followed the sound of the whistle to a tree and found my mocker--a bird perched on the highest limb of our tallest tree. Searching for information on this phenomenon through Google, several websites about birds imitating human sounds were found.

The bird could be a starling, as starlings found in many areas of the world, are known to imitate whistles and ambulance sirens. There have even been reports of blackbirds imitating ambulance sirens. Other birds that imitate sounds include mockingbirds, catbirds, and brown thrashers.

Ornithologists in Australia, New York, and Denmark while studying birds, heard birds imitating ringtones on cellphones. Not only this, but some mobile phone providers have released ringtones that sound like birds. So, now the birds could start imitating themselves!

One concern that ornithologists have is that the birds might begin to forget their original bird sounds, so they have been recording those sounds and storing in archives at museums.

This just shows the effect that mass development has on nature. How sad it would be if these birds forgot their original bird calls.



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    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 6 years ago

      I need a CD with all the sounds! Thank you!

    • Rickrideshorses profile image

      Rickrideshorses 7 years ago from England

      Fascinating, birds are funny things. Cool hub!

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Wonderful hub. Thanks for share with us.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      OMG, this is too funny!

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 7 years ago from London, UK

      Wow - that's interesting. So they are gradually having the qualities of a Parrot. I'll be watching birds more closely now. lol.


    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 7 years ago from Australia

      This is quite common here in Australia. Magpies are great warblers but are also excellent imitators and will copy dogs barking, whistles etc.

      You are right about the birds losing their native calls, the family of magpies we have in our yard are not warbling anywhere near the amount that they were just a few seasons ago! It is such a beautiful warble!

    • K J Page profile image

      K J Page 7 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Cool - I learned something new!! I had no idea that America's wild birds imitated - I think somewhere I read that crows and ravens do?? I will pay closer attention to the sounds I hear now

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 7 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Interesting. You could start whistling short,snappy tunes, and then the birds could imitate that. Fortunately, many people have different ring tones, so that the mockingbirds won't all be sounding like phones.