A study out of Western Ontario says says songbirds have a harder time learning their songs when exposed to traffic noise.
Researchers studied the Zebra Finch, a bird native to Australia that can be found in per stores because they are easy to bred in the lab. But they are interested in what the results mean for wild song birds found in Toronto such as Yellow Warblers.
By: May Warren Metro Published on Tue Aug 30 2016
For a bird in the city, life can be a beak.
There are condo windows to avoid, light pollution and killer cats. Now, add to that noise that can make it nearly impossible to communicate with a friend, or worse, a potential mate.
Scott MacDougall-Shackleton, director of the Advanced Facility for Avian Research at Western University, has just published the results of a study that highlights the problem.
Birds exposed to urban noises like cars, motorcycles and the occasional siren have a harder time learning songs, the study showed, and that could make it harder for them to attract one another for breeding.
Just as we learn how to speak “birds have to hear their own species and practice” in order to produce their species’ normal sounds, the London, Ont., based researcher explained.
The study focused on baby zebra finches, which are native to Australia, because they are considered the “white lab rats” of songbirds. But, regardless of the songbird involved, the results are thought to be universal.
Anything that decreases the number of birds being born could have a trickle down effect, said Michael Mesure, executive director of bird advocacy organization Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP).