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Conservation Science for a Healthy Planet

Songbirds divorce, flee, fail to reproduce due to suburban sprawl

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ScienceDaily Posted: 03 Jan 2017 07:26 PM PST

….New research published Dec. 28 in the journal PLOS ONE finds that for one group of songbirds — called “avoiders” — urban sprawl is kicking them out of their territory, forcing divorce and stunting their ability to find new mates and reproduce successfully, even after relocating.

“The hidden cost of suburban development for these birds is that we force them to do things that natural selection wouldn’t have them do otherwise,” said lead author John Marzluff, a professor of wildlife science in the University of Washington’s School of Environmental and Forest Sciences. “Because development requires that these birds move, we force them to abandon the places they selected and go elsewhere, which often entails finding new mates when they wouldn’t have otherwise.”…

John M. Marzluff, Jack H. Delap, M. David Oleyar, Kara A. Whittaker, Beth Gardner. Breeding Dispersal by Birds in a Dynamic Urban Ecosystem. PLOS, December 28, 2016 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0167829

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