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Traffic pollution: The street noise makes birds stupid

2021-03-03T00:07:38.830Z

Finches find food more slowly when there is traffic noise, locusts fail when choosing a partner. Researchers are therefore calling for more noise protection for animals.



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Great tit

Photo: Friedhelm Adam / ImageBroker / Okapia

Christopher Templeton annoys his test animals with car noise from Germany.

As a visiting scientist at the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Ornithology in Seewiesen, Upper Bavaria, he recorded cars and trucks speeding by on the edge of a country road years ago, with more than six vehicles per minute at peak times.

The noise from the canned food still serves him well.

Now the behavioral biologist at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon, has used the recordings to study the effects of droning on the cognitive abilities of zebra finches.

The sound from the tape made the birds stupid: In the experiment, they needed almost twice as long as the songbirds from the comparison group to find hidden food or to see through the mechanism of a food dispenser.

The noise-plagued animals also performed worse in social learning.

One of the tests was to learn strategies for procuring food from other members of the same species.

That hardly worked.

"We were surprised that the effect was so dramatic," says Templeton.

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Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2021-03-03

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