Koel and the Doppler shift

To: Philip Veerman <>
Subject: Koel and the Doppler shift
From: Martin Butterfield <>
Date: Sun, 4 Nov 2018 03:27:23 +0000
The classic example of a doppler shift was a train coming into a station and going away while blowing its whistle.  That probably would be going little faster than a frightened Koel and probably slower than a ticked-off Peregrine.

On Sun, 4 Nov 2018 at 12:42, Philip Veerman <> wrote:

Interesting idea and is obviously logically true. But is that what happened? I wonder if a Koel is able to move with sufficient velocity so that it is the wave shift that is sufficiently great for a human to detect the difference in pitch. I had thought it needs a greater speed for the Doppler shift to be noticeable to us. Or am I wrong? The mathematics is known but beyond me…… An internet search “Doppler shift” provides the mathematics. Or was it coincidentally combined with an actual change of call? I can’t say I have noticed it for faster flying birds or is it just that I haven’t thought about it. For example a Peregrine Falcon flying circles around its nest site is probably faster and gives repeated opportunity to detect this, whilst the observer is standing below. Does someone detect the change in sound as the bird moves towards and away from you? Yes the sound can change but is that the reason?




From: calyptorhynchus [
Sent: Sunday, 4 November, 2018 7:54 AM
To: Canberra Birds
Subject: [canberrabirds] Koel and the Doppler shift


Amusing incident just now at our place in Hughes. A calling Koel was chased out of a tree by a Red Wattlebird and pursued over our yard and into the distance, but the Koel still continued calling whilst being pursued. As it approached and then receded the call changed in pitch noticeably.





John Leonard

‘There is kinship between people and all animals. Such is the Law.’ Kimberley lawmen (from Yorro Yorro)


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