During the 2020 lockdowns, which must contain the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been frequent talk about the fact that nature can now recover. The wish here was generally greater than the reality, but the assessment was correct in some cases. In many American capitals, for example, birds returned more frequently between March and May than in other years, As a study by Michael Schrempf and his team at the Science Advances shows.. So 66 of the 82 species of birds examined appeared in the cities more frequently than the average in previous years.
The group used data from the platform for their work eBird Again, to which amateurs can also report their observations. In order to rule out it as an artifact because more people have time to watch the birds, Schrimpf and Co recorded whether the number of watchers and lists uploaded increased. But this was not the case. Because the number of birds can naturally fluctuate each year, scientists have linked the numbers to five different indicators of human activity that changed during the pandemic, such as individual traffic. This enabled them to make connections between the degree of change and the evolution of bird populations.
The results were impressive: many species of domesticated birds and sparrows returned to city centers, ruby-throated hummingbirds were seen around airports three times more than in previous years, and bald eagles circled around and rested more frequently in areas with the most stringent restrictions. The team identified particularly visible connections along the streets. Many bird species previously avoided near busy roads to avoid noise, dirt and potentially deadly vehicles. But they find themselves here again during the closures.
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