About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Urban cardinals live longer

While the term urban sprawl generally has negative connotations to the environment and wildlife, a new study shows that some birds benefit from the expansion of human neighborhoods. Edge of woods birds like Northern Cardinals and Catbirds were found to live longer in urban dwellings than their country cousins did in rural areas.

Throughout the year several species of birds were tagged and followed by the Migratory Bird Center. Scientists then used that information to estimate the survival of each species in urban, suburban and rural environments.

The American robin and song sparrow also lived longer in suburban habitats. This suggests that species vary in their response to human disturbance. The remaining species—chickadees and wrens—did not show a difference in survival in response to urbanization.

The increase of urban development in the late 20th century has shaped wildlife populations by modifying landscapes, introducing novel predators and creating increased competition for resources. Despite this impact on urban wildlife, few studies have examined how human-induced changes affect the well-being of animals living in these landscapes. Studies such as this help scientists understand the positive and negative impacts on wildlife.