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 Parallel computation provides deeper insight into brain function
27.03.2017 | Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University

nachricht Big data approach to predict protein structure
27.03.2017 | Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Big data approach to predict protein structure

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Parallel computation provides deeper insight into brain function

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Weather extremes: Humans likely influence giant airstreams

27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>