Noise pollution affects birds’ nesting habits

July 24th, 2009 - 1:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, July 24 (IANS) A new study has come up with the strongest evidence yet that noise pollution negatively influences the nesting habits of birds.
The study also indicates that at least a few species opt for noisy areas over quiet ones, perhaps because of their vocalisation pitches, a reduction in nest predators and less competition from other song birds that prefer quiet environments.

The researchers found that 32 bird species nested in quiet areas undisturbed by noise pollution, while 21 species were nesting in noisy areas.

The team also found only three bird species nested exclusively at the noisy sites, while 14 species nested only in the quiet sites.

The three-year study compared nesting birds inhabiting pinyon-juniper woodland sites

surrounding natural gas extraction sites and their noise-producing compressors with birds nesting in adjacent, quieter woodland sites.

While bird species richness declined at noisy sites, bird nesting success was higher there than in the nearby quiet sites, said Clinton Francis, University of Colorado at Boulder (CU-B) who led the study.

“This is the first study to show that noise pollution causes changes in species interactions within bird communities,” said Francis.

“Since noise pollution can be a major cause of declining bird diversity in and around urban areas, better noise control using quieter road surfaces and sound-reducing walls should be considered to help preserve such communities.”

While other studies have shown noise pollution can have a negative impact on bird species, most have been conducted near heavily used roads, said Francis.

These findings were published online in Current Biology.

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