Air Clean Up
Baby birds suffer from noise pollution
Sep 19 2012
It’s easy to acknowledge the problems of urban living for a family, but the affects of noise pollution on animals is a trouble far less considered.
A recent study from the University of Sheffield found that noise pollution has a severe negative impact on the level of attention that chicks receive from their urban-living mothers.
Experts say that noise produced from traffic, construction and power generators drowns out the chirping of hungry chicks. This leaves the parents unaware of the needs of their young – causing distress, detachment and starvation.
The problem does not only affect the relationship between mother and chick, it is also thought to contribute to a lack of breeding – potentially decreasing populations of house sparrows in the UK’s town and cities.
Numbers of breeding sparrows in the UK were found to have declined by between 60 per cent and even 99 per cent.
Dr Julia Schroeder, of the University’s Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, said: “Our study shows the first evidence for noise affecting breeding success in birds by interrupting communication between parents and offspring in a wild population.
“We have found a potential cause for the decline of sparrows in cities. The failed communication between parents and offspring could contribute to the dwindling numbers of sparrows in cities.”
This information was sourced by experts at the University of Sheffield, who studied house sparrows living on Lundy Island in the Bristol Channel, described by the scientists as a natural laboratory.
The problem is not an easy one to rectify – with cities continuing to suffer from noise pollution. However, these findings could be particularly useful for wild bird experts who are hoping to replenish their populations.
To ensure successful breeding seasons, scientists advise that nest boxes should be put as high up as possible – alleviating some of the noise pollution.
Posted by Claire Manning
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