AUG 15, 2022 8:30 AM PDT

COVID-19 Lockdowns Expanded Bird Habitats in Cities

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

Researchers found that reduced human activity due to COVID-19 lockdowns expanded bird populations' range of habitats in cities. The corresponding study was published in Nature

In spring 2020, the researchers recruited over 900 community scientists at over 429 monitoring sites in the Pacific Northwest to record the birds they observed over a 10-minute period at least once per week for three months in their backyards and parks. The research focused on 46 bird species overall, which were documented in over 6,640 individual surveys. 

"I am loving being a part of this!" said Nadine Santo Pietro, a study volunteer, in a written comment as part of the project, "I signed up to observe once a week for 10 minutes, but it has become so much more than that. … I am learning so much! And it's given me something positive to focus on during this strange time we are in right now." 

While people tended to spend most of spring 2020 indoors, over the study period, many started to venture outside. As people started to return to public spaces, volunteers noted increased sightings of several bird species in backyards and parks. This, noted the researchers, means that birds may have been elsewhere during the height of the lockdowns but then returned to vegetated areas as human activity increased again. 

"For about half of the species we observed, neither land use nor canopy cover had an effect on their site use. That's very interesting, because we would expect that whether a habitat was mostly covered in concrete or vegetation would tell you something about what birds would be there," said Dr. Olivia Sanderfoot, Postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Los Angeles, lead author of the study.

The researchers further found that human mobility affected the detection of 76% of study species- including great blue herons and downy woodpeckers- meaning that different species reacted differently to day-to-day changes in human activity. 

The researchers wrote that their study showcases how existing community science platforms can be leveraged to support local monitoring efforts. Dr. Sanderfoot also noted that their findings highlight the importance of building green spaces in cities. 

 

Sources: Science Daily, Nature

 

About the Author
University College London
Annie Lennon is a writer whose work also appears in Medical News Today, Psych Central, Psychology Today, and other outlets. When she's not writing, she is COO of Xeurix, an HR startup that assesses jobfit from gamified workplace simulations.
You May Also Like
JUL 22, 2022
Technology
A Mattress That Helps People Fall Asleep Faster
JUL 22, 2022
A Mattress That Helps People Fall Asleep Faster
Though everyone needs different amounts of it throughout their life, we all need sleep. It’s an important way for ...
AUG 10, 2022
Neuroscience
Memory Flash Learning Method Improves Visual Perception of People with Autism
AUG 10, 2022
Memory Flash Learning Method Improves Visual Perception of People with Autism
Tel Aviv University researchers developed a new learning method for people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that can ...
AUG 11, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
If You're Over 40 and You Like THC and CBD, Read This
AUG 11, 2022
If You're Over 40 and You Like THC and CBD, Read This
Are there risks to ingesting cannabis if you're over 40? Get the details here.
AUG 17, 2022
Health & Medicine
Stress & Cognitive Function: Friend or Foe?
AUG 17, 2022
Stress & Cognitive Function: Friend or Foe?
Stress is inevitable, at times overwhelming, and when in the thick of it, it can feel insurmountable. However, sometimes ...
SEP 06, 2022
Neuroscience
Higher Temperatures Increase Sleepiness
SEP 06, 2022
Higher Temperatures Increase Sleepiness
A study published in Current Biology found that fruit flies have internal sensors, or “absolute heat” recept ...
SEP 15, 2022
Health & Medicine
Pandemic Impacts on Physical Exercise
SEP 15, 2022
Pandemic Impacts on Physical Exercise
A recent study found that people who were more physically active during the first few months of the pandemic struggled s ...
Loading Comments...