Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Backyard birds enhance life in urban neighborhoods

23.04.2015

How aware are you of the birds that live in your neighborhood? Do you know how many different species there are? Do enjoy your local birds, or find them annoying?

J. Amy Belaire of St. Edward's University, Lynne Westphal of the U.S. Forest Service, and Emily Minor and Christopher Whelan of the University of Illinois at Chicago visited urban neighborhoods in the Chicago area to answer these questions and learn more about how people see their backyard birds.


Is a robin eating backyard pokeweed berries a welcome visitor or weed-spreading nuisance?

Credit: C. Whelan

Their results, published in a new paper in The Condor: Ornithological Applications, provide a fascinating look at the relationship between people and nature in a city setting.

Belaire and her colleagues surveyed the breeding birds in 25 neighborhoods adjacent to forest preserves in Cook County, Illinois, recording a total of 36 species, and sent questionnaires to the families in each neighborhood.

While most people were excited to participate in a scientific study, according to Belaire, someone looking through binoculars in a residential neighborhood is bound to attract some attention; "The police were called several times to check up on us," she says.

The researchers found that residents' feelings toward birds were generally very positive, although a few people found bird droppings, nests in gutters, and other nusiances to be annoying, especially in neighborhoods where specific problem birds such as House Sparrows and Common Grackles were more abundant.

Though the questionnaire asked respondents to estimate how many bird species were found around their homes, there was no relationship between residents' perceptions of bird diversity and the actual species numbers observed in the bird surveys. Instead, the more favorable someone's feelings about local birds, the more species they guessed were present.

"The interdisciplinary approach for this study stemmed from the knowledge that many of today's pressing environmental questions can't be answered by a single discipline alone," says Belaire. "The social surveys helped shed light on the many things people value about birds in the neighborhood, especially the birds' aesthetic qualities and the role they play in local ecosystems.

Although residential neighborhoods in our study sites had surprisingly high bird diversity, we found that people didn't seem to be entirely aware of this biodiversity." The researchers suggest that programs such as citizen science projects can increase people's awareness of their neighborhoods' avian diversity. Even though the results showed a range of individual awareness of birds, this study reinforces the idea that birds are an important point of connection between city dwellers and the natural world.

"Urban residents' perceptions of birds in the neighborhood: Biodiversity, cultural ecosystem services, and disservices" is available at http://www.aoucospubs.org/doi/full/10.1650/CONDOR-14-128.1.

J. Amy Belaire | EurekAlert!

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation
22.06.2017 | Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)

nachricht CWRU researchers find a chemical solution to shrink digital data storage
22.06.2017 | Case Western Reserve University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

Im Focus: Optoelectronic Inline Measurement – Accurate to the Nanometer

Germany counts high-precision manufacturing processes among its advantages as a location. It’s not just the aerospace and automotive industries that require almost waste-free, high-precision manufacturing to provide an efficient way of testing the shape and orientation tolerances of products. Since current inline measurement technology not yet provides the required accuracy, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is collaborating with four renowned industry partners in the INSPIRE project to develop inline sensors with a new accuracy class. Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the project is scheduled to run until the end of 2019.

New Manufacturing Technologies for New Products

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation

22.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Plant inspiration could lead to flexible electronics

22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences

A rhodium-based catalyst for making organosilicon using less precious metal

22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>