Traffic Noise Pollution Stunts Growth in Baby Birds

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A recent study published in the journal Science has shed light on the profound impact of noise pollution from city traffic on the development of baby birds, even while they are still inside the egg.

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Conducted by researchers from Deakin University in Australia, the study reveals alarming findings about the long-term negative effects of noise Pollution on the health, growth, and reproduction of birds.

Dr. Mylene Mariette, a co-author of the study and an expert in bird communication, emphasized the significance of the research, stating, “Sound has a much stronger and more direct impact on bird development than we knew before.” The study suggests that efforts to reduce noise Pollution are crucial in mitigating these detrimental effects on avian populations.

The research involved exposing zebra finch eggs and hatchlings to various audio stimuli, including city traffic noises such as revving motors and passing cars, as well as soothing zebra finch songs.

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The results were startling: eggs exposed to traffic noise were nearly 20% less likely to hatch, and the hatchlings that did emerge were significantly smaller and lighter compared to their counterparts raised in quieter conditions.

What’s more concerning is that these effects persisted even after the birds were no longer exposed to noise Pollution, impacting their reproductive capabilities well into adulthood.

The study found that birds exposed to noise Pollution during their early development produced fewer offspring than those raised in quieter environments.

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The research challenges previous assumptions about the sensitivity of young birds to sound and highlights the enduring and pervasive effects of noise Pollution on avian populations.

While some experts were surprised by the magnitude of the impact observed in the study, it shows the urgent need to address noise Pollution, especially in urban areas where birds are increasingly exposed to loud and continuous traffic noise.

This article by Trinity Sparke was first published by One Green Planet on 28 April 2024. Image Credit :Natalia van D/Shutterstock.

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