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Noise pollution negatively affects woodland bird communities, says CU-Boulder study
Date:7/23/2009

eas, a decrease in scrub jays in such areas could result in the decreased establishment of pinyon pine. This would potentially affect many organisms and alter the dynamics of the ecological community, said Francis.

The team determined that 97 percent of mourning dove nests and 100 percent of black-headed grosbeak nests in the study area were found in the quiet areas away from the din of compressors. Francis said the low vocal frequencies of mourning doves and black-headed grosbeaks appear to overlap with most human-caused noises, which may inhibit vocal communication required for repelling rivals, pairing and nesting.

The study indicated birds that were intolerant of noise and nested in quiet areas were subject to greater rate of nest predation than those in noisy areas, he said. Woodland birds that prefer noisy areas may even use the clamor of civilization as cues for nesting, since such noise might signal a reduction in potential predators.

The researchers also found that a number of bird species found in the noisy sites -- including gray flycatchers, gray vireos, black-throated gray warblers and spotted towhees -- tended to avoid areas of noise disturbance when selecting nesting sites.

"Understanding how birds respond to noise, especially birds with critical links to ecosystems, are crucial in maintaining biodiversity in growing areas of landscapes disturbed by urban clamor," said Francis.


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Contact: Clinton Francis
clinton.francis@colorado.edu
720-883-3073
University of Colorado at Boulder
Source:Eurekalert  

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