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Chapter 3: Potential acoustic masking of Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) display components by chronic industrial noise - Enmascaramiento Acústico Potencial de Componentes del Despliegue de Centrocercus urophasianus por Ruido Industrial Crónico
Jessica L. Blickley and Gail L. Patricelli
Vol. 74, No. 1 (July 2012), pp. 23-35
Published by: American Ornithologists' Union
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/om.2012.74.1.23
Page Count: 13
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Abstract Anthropogenic noise can limit the ability of birds to communicate by masking their acoustic signals. Masking, which reduces the distance over which the signal can be perceived by a receiver, is frequency dependent, so the different notes of a single song may be masked to different degrees. We analyzed the individual notes of mating vocalizations produced by Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) and noise from natural gas infrastructure to quantify the potential for such noise to mask Greater Sage-Grouse vocalizations over both long and short distances. We found that noise produced by natural gas infrastructure was dominated by low frequencies, with substantial overlap in frequency with Greater Sage-Grouse acoustic displays. Such overlap predicted substantial masking, reducing the active space of detection and discrimination of all vocalization components, and particularly affecting low-frequency and low-amplitude notes. Such masking could increase the difficulty of mate assessment for lekking Greater Sage-Grouse. We discuss these results in relation to current stipulations that limit the proximity of natural gas infrastructure to leks of this species on some federal lands in the United States. Significant impacts to Greater Sage-Grouse populations have been measured at noise levels that predict little or no masking. Thus, masking is not likely to be the only mechanism of noise impact on this species, and masking analyses should therefore be used in combination with other methods to evaluate stipulations and predict the effects of noise exposure.
© 2012 by The American Ornithologists' Union