If you have ever seen pigeons taking off, you have heard them making a whistling sound. But why do pigeons make noise when they fly?
Pigeons make noises while flying or taking off for various reasons-sometimes to warn their fellows, sometimes to notify others about a food source, etc.
Let’s see what science says about pigeons making noise during flight.
Why do pigeons make noise while flying?
Pigeons make a whistling noise when they take off. This sound comes from their wing feather. The 8th primary feather on each wing is smaller than the other flight feathers of pigeons.
Researchers found that crested pigeons make loud sounds when they take off. That is why they are known as ‘whistle-winged pigeons’.
According to a study, crested pigeons make distinctive low and high notes using their wings when they start flying off. When the wings move upwards, they produce a low note. When the wings move downwards, they make a high note. The study says that the noise is created in the 8th feather of a pigeon’s wings.
If the airflow among the feathers circulates heavily during the strokes, it causes torsion in the feathers. Therefore the pigeons start hovering around, flapping their wings with short, light, and quick movements.
This unsteady flying phenomenon is called the ‘aero-elastic flutter’ in science. The vibration caused for this flutter creates the noise. The study also found that the pigeons produce rhythmic high and low notes to warn the other pigeons.
When one pigeon makes the high and low notes in quick rotation, the other pigeons get alarmed of potential danger and take off quickly.
Why do some birds make noise when they fly?
Birds can produce sound with their vocal system. But some birds also make noise using other body organs for searching for food, attracting their mate, warning their fellows about predators, etc.
But mainly, birds produce these noises as signals when they perceive some threat. When they take off making noise with their wings, the other birds become alert about possible danger or predators.
What types of noises do pigeons make when they fly?
Pigeons produce the following types of noise when they fly-
Contact Calls: While flying in flocks, pigeons produce contact calls to signal their fellows and inform them about a food source. Contact calls are normal sounds of birds like loud tweets, buzzes, etc.
Alarm Calls: Alarm calls are sharp and piercing noises that can be heard from a long distance. To alarm the other birds about a threat, sometimes bird repeatedly produce quick and short noises while flying.
Wing Drumming: When birds are brought out from their cages after a long time, they drum their wings standing on or in front of their cages. Sometimes they do so to claim their own’s territory and warn the other birds to stay away from there. Wing drumming sometimes causes them to lift a little or take a sudden flight.
Birds make noise when flying
Mute swans make very distinctive dull but heavy beats that can be heard from a good distance. These birds produce these humming noises to contact others. The common Goldeneye Ducks and Eurasian Teal ducks make loud, high whistles or paced quacks when they fly.
Red Grouses flush and takes off suddenly, producing a whirring sound with their wings. Gray Partridges produce a quick, brief, and rough sound when they flush and prepare to take off. Both the birds make these quick whirring sounds to astound the predators.
On the other hand, South American Clapping Manakins clap their wings while taking off just to display their feathers.
Pigeons make noise while flying mainly to notify the other pigeons about potential threats or food sources. Obviously, there can be many different reasons because you cannot know all of the secrets of this mysterious universe!
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