Noise from traffic, construction and other human activities is leaving nestling birds unable to communicate with their parents scientists have discovered.
This means they can go hungry or be more vulnerable of becoming a snack for a passing predator, as they are unable to hear their parent’s instructions.
Nestling birds depend on their parents for both food and protection as they will tell them when it is safe to beg for food, and when they should crouch in the nest to avoid a predator seeking an easy meal.
Without clear instructions and faced with tough competition from hungry siblings, nestling birds instinctively react quickly to any sign that a parent might have food, vigorously begging to attract attention. While this rapid response increases their likelihood of getting a good meal, it also puts them at risk of hastily misidentifying predators as parents. On the other hand, if overly-cautious nestlings fail to hear their parents approach with food, the missed detection could cost them a meal.