However, it is too early to say whether these changes have had a negative impact on certain species, or whether the situation will return to what it was before the health crisis.said researcher Miya Warrington, an ecologist at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg who is particularly interested in how animals adapt their behavior to rapid changes in their environment.
This research project was born when Ms Warrington found that the only places that were still possible to go to during confinement, such as certain parks, were now being taken over by crowds that would not otherwise have been there. found.
There was trash everywheresaid Ms. Warrington, whom The Canadian Press reached in the United Kingdom, where she resides, and whose email address includes canadianbirdlady.
I thought it couldn’t be good for the animals.
It was also at this time that information and photos of animals began to circulate in the media reclaiming places deserted by humans.
Ms Warrington and her colleagues combined mobility data provided by Google and nearly 900,000 bird sightings shared online to study the impact of the pandemic, and especially the lockdown, on how birds exploited their environment.
They found that some birds did not take advantage of constantly filled feeders because the presence of humans bothered them and they preferred to feed away from prying eyes.
In the parks, on the other hand, birds like seagulls and crows were more than happy to feast on visitors’ scraps.
On the highways, less traffic led to fewer collisions with animals, and the birds that usually feed on these carcasses had to find their food elsewhere.
Warrington. But there may be other species that aren’t as flexible or can’t move.”,”text”:”Birds move around and find the resource they need elsewhere, Warrington said. But maybe there are other species that aren’t as flexible or can’t move.”}}”>Birds move around and find the resource they need elsewhere, Ms Warrington said. But maybe there are other species that aren’t as flexible or can’t move.
Intriguingly, some bird species reacted differently to the lockdown, depending on whether populations were on this side of the Atlantic or the other. The researcher cites the example of the house sparrow, an invasive species in North America, which is on the other hand in decline in the United Kingdom.
The more movement there was [humain], the greater the impact on the sparrow in the UK, she said. But we haven’t seen any impact in North America. […] It tells me that different populations, under different conditions, have adapted to humans differently.
Yet, she continues, one would have thought that the sparrow would be more accustomed to being disturbed by humans in the UK, where the natural areas available to it are much scarcer and more sparse than in North America.
The findings of this study were published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.