Monday, April 16, 2018, 16:30 - Most people probably wouldn’t consider bustling towns and cities good places for nature to thrive. Yet a few species of birds have so successfully adapted to city living that they boast large and thriving urban populations. Now, research has suggested that the success of these city-dwelling species may lie in their behaviour.
Urban habitats are quite different to the natural environments in which birds evolved. Cities are noisy places, they are lit almost continually with artificial lights and they contain an abundance of food. Cities are also full of people. This means birds living there rarely get any peace and must cope with almost constant disturbance from both humans and their pets.
But birds living in cities are known to be much more tolerant of human disturbance than their rural compatriots. In a study of 44 European bird species, all but four allowed humans to approach them more closely in cities than in rural habitats. This suggests that city birds are bolder in the face of a potential threat.