Richard Schneider of the NABU bird conservation centre near the university city of Tuebingen said that the birds have an uncanny ability to mimic ring tones and are suddenly doing so.
The worst offenders are the jackdaws, starlings and jays who seemed to be doing it to wind up bird watchers.
Apparently they see bird watchers, with their maps on strings around their necks and binoculars, and watch them scrabble for their mobiles, with a cunningly mimicked call. Schneider said the phenomenon was that these birds were increasingly common in German cities and were adapting to their environment -- which includes ring tones.
The scary thing is that some birds were marking out their territory and hoping to attract mates with cries like the crazy frog song. He suggests in the interests of ecology that mobile phone users convert their tones to pop songs which are too complex to be mimicked by the birds.
Of course some pop songs could result in you being strangled by fellow passengers on a London to Nottingham Intercity, but at least you will be saving the avian culture of the blue tit. More on a wing and a prayer here. µ
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