Noise and light pollution change the behavior of birds

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In urban areas, noise and light pollution are a part of people’s daily lives, day and night … There are some ways for us humans to alleviate this harassment. However, do birds have the adaptive ability to survive in these places not only from the air we breathe but also from high noise and intermittent lighting?

In fact, at present and globally, one cannot deny the effects of artificial night light and anthropological noise on species of various ecosystems. ResearchersCalifornia Polytechnic State University The study focused on the influence of sound and light pollutants on a wide variety of birds.

According to them, the research available to date focuses mainly on noise or light, especially on a species. However, these stimuli are often intertwined and little is known about how co-expression affects wildlife and whether responses vary among species.

Therefore, in a published study Global change biology, The research team used data from the Social Science project Program Feederwatch And They analyzed more than 3.4 million views of about 140 unique bird species On the American continent.

“In general, we begin to see the effects of light and noise on animals.”Ashley Wilson, a graduate student at California Polytechnic State University, led the study. “Most studies focus on single species’ responses to noise or light pollution. Our study of 140 species provides the most comprehensive estimate of how noise and light affect the birds we see in our backyards and surroundings.”

The study serves the following three purposes:

  1. Learn about the reactions of different bird species to noise, light and interaction between the 140 bird species found throughout North America using a transparent approach to numerous sample changes.
  2. To study the reactions of birds to the correlation between artificial night light exposure and night length.
  3. Identify functional characteristics and habits that explain the variability of racial responses to these emotional stimuli with phylogenetic models.
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Sound and light pollutants have different effects depending on the species

For example, American Goldfish (Spinous tragedy), Waxes of America (Pompicilla cetrome) Or White Breast Nuts (Siddha Carolinensis) Common bird species, they try to avoid noisy areas at all costs.

When pollutants – sound and light – occur simultaneously, many additional bird species try to avoid bird feedings placed in these areas. Researchers conclude that It seems that some species can deal with a pollution But when the two are together, it is very difficult for them to embrace.

Therefore, Species that respond to noise exposure are greatly reduced and the negative effects increase if light exposure is added..

“These responses would not be entirely noticeable if we focused only on the influence of light or noise separately, rather than considering the total exposure of the two emotional pollutants”, “he said. Ashley Wilson said. “Our overall impact on vulnerable organisms may be broader than we first thought.”

In addition, according to the researchers’ observations, the impact of noise and light varies according to the environment of the organism. For example, Birds that live in the wild are more sensitive to noise and light than those that live in grasslands.

Impact of artificial night light

In addition, the species is strongly affected by seasonal patterns and variation in night length. For example, 47 species (72%) increased abundantly when exposed to artificial night light and long nights.

“It is true that many species are more abundant in light areas when the nights are longer because winter nights have harsher conditions, especially in the north when temperatures drop below zero and the birds use more energy to stay warm and survive.”Said biology professor Cal Polly. And leading author Clint Francis. “Light at night allows us to be active and eat continuously at night. However, exposure to light can create immeasurable problems for us in this study, namely altered sleep patterns and increased stress.”

The presence of artificial night light has the potential to expand the temporary space and extend perceived photosynthesis – The ratio between the length of the day and the length of the night -.

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However, there are some studies that have systematically studied the effect of artificial light on behavioral changes or the restoration of temporary partitions of important places.

For example, North Mockingbird (Mimus polyclotose) And blacklist (Turtus Merula) Increase distance times when there is artificial light. However, these studies have recorded the behavior of birds when their behavior is different during the breeding season. Research on the impact of night light on the activity of wintering birds near urban forages has revealed conflicting results before and after dusk.

In fact, of the 24 bird feeds in a residential area in Norway, throughout the winter, during a surveillance study, only three species were active at night. Other studies suggest itThere is weak evidence that birds change over time in the presence of light pollution. Birds feed more late in the morning than before when there is artificial light.

Paris, the shores of Sean, at night
Credit: Free-Photos / Pixie – License: CC0

Protected natural areas are endangered

In urban areas, noise and lighting are components that are integrated into the daily lives of residents and are clearly difficult to replace. However, according to researchers These pollutants begin to infiltrate protected natural areas Affect them. However, as its name implies, these are areas that need to be protected so that plants and animals can thrive without interfering with human activities.

“If birds cannot tolerate the increased intensity and presence of these pollutants, they may find fewer organisms in bright light and quiet areas, even in protected areas.” Ashley Wilson said.

Research should continue to understand how to manage these pollutants and to identify emotionally dangerous areas that can pose a great risk to vulnerable and rare organisms.

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Cory Weinberg

About the Author: Cory Weinberg

Cory Weinberg covers the intersection of tech and cities. That means digging into how startups and big tech companies are trying to reshape real estate, transportation, urban planning, and travel. Previously, he reported on Bay Area housing and commercial real estate for the San Francisco Business Times. He received a "best young journalist" award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

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