In brief

May 2016   Comments

The urban bird gets the worm

Birds living in urban environments are smarter than birds from rural environments. The former have adapted to their urban environments, enabling them to exploit new resources more favourably than their rural counterparts, say a team of McGill University researchers in a paper published in Behavioral Ecology. In the first study to find clear cognitive differences between birds from urbanized environments and ones from rural areas, the investigators report key differences in problem-solving abilities, such as being able to open drawers to access food, and in temperament among bullfinches in Barbados. The city bullfinches are faster at problem solving and are bolder than those from the country.

The researchers also found that the urban bullfinches have better immunity. Since urban birds are better at problem solving, the team had expected that immunity would be lower because they assumed that urban birds couldn’t be good at everything. It seems that, in this case, the urban birds have it all.


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