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Forest Secrets: Decoding the Alarm System in Nature

Here's an excerpt from my latest book I wanted to share:

"I'm about to reveal a secret that will probably change your life. It's highly likely that once you hear what I have to say you will find yourself with a palm mark on your forehead or at least seeing your entire experience in nature in a different light. There's a secret alarm system that exists in nature, and once you start to hear it, it becomes obvious. Not only am I going to introduce you to this system, I'm going to show you how to hack it and the cheat codes that will enable you to move through it undetected (with dirt-time and a lot of practice).

What's really amazing about this system is that it's actually encoded into our stories and myths. You can find it in Disney movies, television shows, stories about Bigfoot, and all throughout ancient legends. I was first exposed to these ideas as a teenager, but later they became way more refined after spending some time with Jon Young and benefiting from his mentoring and approach.

So, what is this super-secret, nature alarm security system? It's birds. No, really I'm not kidding. It's birds. You can apply it to other animals as well, but the birds are always communicating about what is going on. You can learn to hear, understand, and interpret what they are saying. You can tell if people are coming or going, and you can even sometimes know if specific animals are around....

The first thing to understand about bird language is really quite simple: birds communicate a lot.  Primarily the thing we notice is their audible communication, but they are actually communicating all the time with body language too.  For now, we will focus on the audible.  Birds communicate audibly a lot for many reason including they have territories, they are seeking mates, they need to pay attention to dangers, and they are very social animals.  Most of what we are talking about regarding bird language is most apparent in songbirds, especially small ground-feeding songbirds.  But, the concepts we are looking at apply to all birds (and actually all animals). 

     Not only do birds put a lot of time, energy, and attention into audible communication they also have to put a lot of time, energy, and attention into listening to other birds.  They are continually "talking" with one another, and believe it or not it's not that difficult to unlock what they are saying.  We start with understanding very basic communications, and then over time there are a lot of subtleties and nuance you can pick up on.

     So, birds communicate a lot but how can we understand it?  The first layer of this is pretty straight forward.  How do you feel when you hear a car alarm going off?  What about a smoke detector?  How about when you hear some relaxing music?  What about when you hear some very angry, fast, loud music?  All of us can tell the different quality in all of these sounds even if we don't understand specific lyrics or words.  We usually can tell this even if the sounds are in a different language (a siren going off is a universal signal of distress).  Birds and bird language are the same.

     Generally speaking, if birds are singing (melodic, complicated, multi-note calls) it indicates they are not disturbed and that the general scene is safe and harmonious.  If birds are making a loud, single-note over and over again it is an alarm (think smoke detector going off or sirens going off).  Alarms are usually the most obvious signal that something threatening is happening or is going to happen.  Now what is threatening to birds is not always threatening to us.  However, bird alarms often signify animal activity including the presence of ground predators such as weasels, felines, and canines or aerial predators such as owls, falcons, and hawks.

     Another way to think of what I'm describing is that the birds in a natural area function as a security system.  Imagine a sophisticated security system in place for a major museum with several very pricey items.  For this museum there are several different alarm systems placed all throughout the museum including different intensities of alarms and different zones of alarm.  If a thief is trying to break in, they would need to know how to move through each area and each zone with different methods in order to not set off the alarms.  As a security guard you would need to be able to read any signals that come in from different zones and assess a threat.

      Birds living free and wild in a natural system operate in a similar manner.  And, you can be either the thief (who needs to decode the system and not set off so many bird alarms) or you can be the security officer interpreting the different data coming to you from all of the different zones.  In fact, to really reach the deeper levels of Scout Awareness you need to do both.

You can learn more by checking out my new book Shadow Survival HERE

I will also be teaching a Scout Awareness Immersion Course this summer. You can find out more details and sign up HERE



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