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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: Bigger Birds Flee Human Noise
9 November 2011 5:00 pm
It's no secret that loud human sounds—the roar of traffic and hum of heavy machinery—is bad for birds, since fewer are found near such noisy areas. But some species, particularly larger birds that sing low-pitched songs, such as western tanagers, especially suffer from man-made cacophony, scientists report in today's PLoS One. Researchers counted birds and nests in the Rattlesnake Canyon Wildlife Area of northern New Mexico, which is close to thousands of natural gas wells, many of which are coupled with constantly roaring compressors—think of listening to a motorcycle that's about 15 meters away. After surveying some 30 species of birds, ranging from black-chinned hummingbirds to mourning doves, the researchers discovered that it was the larger birds, like the mourning doves and western tanagers that kept away from the noise. Such large birds may be forced out of the loud areas because the roaring machinery drowns out their lower-pitched songs, making it difficult for them to hear each other, the scientists say. Smaller birds, such as chipping sparrows, sing in a higher-pitch, and these species weren't as affected, presumably because their melodies can still rise above the din.
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