Ur­ban ar­eas crowded with more ‘ nui­sance’ birds: Study

The Asian Age - - News+ -

Lon­don: Peo­ple liv­ing in crowded ur­ban ar­eas are more likely to see birds that can cause a nui­sance than those that make us gen­uinely happy, a study has found. Re­searchers at the Univer­sity of Exeter and the Bri­tish Trust for Or­nithol­ogy in the UK found that crowded ur­ban ar­eas have fewer song­birds such as tits and finches, and more po­ten­tial “nui­sance” birds, such as pi­geons, mag­pies and gulls. They ex­am­ined ra­tios of birds- to- peo­ple and found ar­eas of high- den­sity hous­ing have fewer birds over­all. Peo­ple in green and leafy sub­urbs see up to three and a half times more song­birds and wood­peck­ers — which are as­so­ci­ated with a pos­i­tive im­pact on hu­man well­be­ing — than birds whose be­hav­iours can cause a nui­sance, the study found. Pre­vi­ous re­search has sug­gested that peo­ple liv­ing in neigh­bour­hoods with more birds, shrubs and trees are less likely to suf­fer from de­pres­sion, anx­i­ety and stress. “Un­der­stand­ing the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the num­bers of birds and peo­ple is im­por­tant for how we man­age na­ture and wildlife in towns and cities to pro­mote pos­i­tive na­ture ex­pe­ri­ences, while min­imis­ing the po­ten­tial for con­flict,” said Daniel Cox from the Univer­sity of Exeter. “We are not say­ing that all in­di­vid­u­als of species such as pi­geons, gulls, crows and mag­pies cause prob­lems — many will pro­vide peo­ple with pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ences — but the be­hav­iours of some in­di­vid­u­als of these species can cause prob­lems, such as noise, mess and smell,” Cox said. The study, pub­lished in the Jour­nal of Ap­plied Ecol­ogy, con­ducted ex­ten­sive bird sur­veys across three towns in Eng­land: Mil­ton Keynes, Lu­ton and Bed­ford. The re­searchers then an­a­lysed how the num­bers and types of birds var­ied with hu­man pop­u­la­tion den­sity. They looked at the ra­tios of birds to peo­ple of species that are gen­er­ally pos­i­tive for our well­be­ing, such as species that can be at­tracted to gar­den bird feed­ers like tits and finches, and species of bird whose be­hav­iours can cause a nui­sance. Over­all, they found 1.1 birds per per­son that make us happy, and 0.4 birds per per­son whose be­hav­iours com­monly cause a nui­sance.

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