Maybe I missed the best time to listen to Donghwa’s soundscape. In the winter, my morning walks would bring to my ears the mix of songbirds with the subaqueous sounding coo and moan of pigeons.
Wherever one comes close to buildings, one can hear the sound of pigeons roosting or on the wing, with a clear distinction between places in courtyards or close to buildings where the pigeons dominate and areas where trees near walkways shelter songbirds. A small movement from one space to another changes one’s perception completely. But overall, there are many pigeons here–even the BaGe have trouble competing with them!
But when I tell my friend Professor K about the daily competition of BaGe and pigeons in the roof of the College of Indigenous Studies, he says that frogs are really the dominant feature of the soundscape on campus. Once they get out of hibernation, they become vigorous, making such a squash that they can drown out one’s lectures and even one’s internal dialogue. It sounds like quite the sound to hear–so I hope that I can visit Donghwa again
The pigeons also interest me because they tell us something about our interspecies relationships with similarly opportunistic species. Pigeons are very social birds who live in large colonies. They seem to have done very well for themselves in our urban landscapes of large concrete buildings, and interestingly enough, flourish incredibly at Donghwa even though I’ve never seen anyone feeding them. Is there some connection between their original habitats and our buildings, which offer them artificial cliff faces? What is it about the sound of their wings as they scatter in flight that is an index of urban soundscapes around the world?