Questions for A library of tweets (and howls and grunts)


Before reading

1)    List as many of the sounds that dogs or cats make as you can. Next to each sound, provide a description of why and when you think the animal makes that sound.

2)    Different animals might use sound, sight, smell, taste or touch to communicate. What are some of the advantages of sound over the other communication methods?

During reading

1)    Where did the Kauai Oo live, and why is it no longer found there?

2)    Describe the collections held by the Macaulay Library.

3)    What is ornithology?

4)    List several of the reasons why animals use sound.

5)    Why don’t splendid fairy-wrens stay silent when a butcherbird is around?

6)    How did Emma Greig use recordings from the Macaulay Library to learn more about fairy-wrens?

7)    In what way are the wolf howls that Holly Root-Gutteridge studied similar to human fingerprints?

8)    What is a spectrogram?

9)    Why did early European visitors to the islands of Bermuda call them the “Isles of the Devils?”

10)Explain why moving the cahows’ nesting site was so complicated.

After reading

1)    Cats kill more than 1 billion birds a year in the United States alone. Working with a partner, brainstorm a way to use recordings of animal sounds to reduce that toll of bird deaths.

2)    Taking a cue from Holly Root-Gutteridge’s study on wolves, what other elusive animals could you identify by the sounds they make? Describe one project that you might recommend to wildlife conservation teams.


1)    Where, how and when might the sounds that people produce interfere with the ability of animals to communicate? Describe three animals that you think might be most vulnerable to human sound interference. Which three might be least vulnerable? Explain your answer.