Life in the city changes cognition, behavior and physiology of birds to their advantage
Date: March 21, 2016
Birds living in urban environments are smarter than birds from rural environments.
But, why do city birds have the edge over their country friends? They adapted to their urban environments enabling them to exploit new resources more favorably then their rural counterparts, say a team of
researchers. all-McGill University
In a first-ever study to find clear cognitive differences in birds from urbanized compared to rural areas, the researchers report key differences in problem-solving abilities such as opening drawers to access food, and temperament (bolder) among city birds versus country.
The team tested the two groups of birds using not only associative learning tasks, but innovative problem-solving tasks. Innovativeness is considered to be useful in the "real life" of animals in the wild, more so than associative learning.
"We found that not only were birds from urbanized areas better at innovative problem-solving tasks than bullfinches from rural environments, but that surprisingly urban birds also had a better immunity than rural birds," says Jean-Nicolas Audet, a Ph.D student in the Department of Biology and first author of the study published in the journal Behavioral Ecology.