Study warns birds are being negatively impacted by noise pollution

Birds play a crucial role in our environment and provide humans with natural beauty and song in our daily lives. But our noise pollution is having a negative impact on them that must change if we want birds to be around in the future.

You might not realize it, but birds actually communicate with each other through song. They do it for territorial reasons and for reproduction. In a natural setting such as a forest in a rural area, birds can thrive because they can listen to each other and respond accordingly.

But where humans produce noise pollution on a regular basis, birds struggle, according to a new study.

From sonic booms to jackhammers to traffic sounds, all of this noise pollution adds up to a lot of stress on birds that they don’t need.

Just like bees, birds are already threatened by pesticides. But they are also threatened by hunting, the agriculture industry, logging, poisons and climate change.

In fact, 40 percent of the bird population is in decline, resulting in fewer birds to take care of pests and pollinate plants. But also fewer birds to sing for us. A staggering one in eight bird species is threatened with extinction.

And noise pollution only makes things worse because the noise interferes with their ability to attract a mate and respond to rivals.

“We found that bird song structure can communicate aggressive intent, enabling birds to assess their opponent,” Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s University Belfast researcher Gareth Arnott told The Guardian. “But human-made noise can disrupt this crucial information passed between them, by masking the complexity of their songs used for acquiring resources, such as territory and space for nesting.”

“The birds receive incomplete information on their opponent’s intent and do not appropriately adjust their response,” Arnott continued. “Where song is disguised by background noise, in some cases the male ends up fighting more vigorously than he should, but at other times gives in too easily.”

“The study is evidence that human-made noise pollution impacts animal habitats and directly influences their ability to communicate properly, which may have implications for survival and population numbers for birds,” Arnott concluded.

Birds would be sorely missed in our world if they were to disappear. We can help them by producing less noise, not using harmful pesticides and putting the breaks on other destructive human activities.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds issued a statement in response to the study that everyone should take to heart.

“Everyone is becoming increasingly concerned that nature is in crisis in the UK, with one in 10 of our wildlife species at threat of extinction,” a spokesperson said. “Many of our birds’ populations are already facing a serious crisis as a result of habitat loss, climate change and other human activities. This report is a good reminder that the way we live and our lifestyle has an impact on our natural world and that we need to protect our natural world if we want to let nature sing.”

Featured Image: Wikimedia

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Stephen D. Foster Jr.
 

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