STATES CHRONICLE – People have always been making comparisons between urban life and rural life, from infrastructure to social life and education. Of course, all of these comparisons were made regarding humans, but now a team of researchers has decided to see how birds in urban areas differ from birds in rural areas.
The researchers from the McGill University have published their study in the journal Behavioral Ecology. They looked into the behavior of Barbados bullfinches after one of the researchers saw that the birds in the city were keeping watch at a restaurant trying to steal food.
They looked into certain characteristics such as color discrimination, boldness, immunity, neophobia and problem-solving skills. It turned out that the bullfinches are not sacrificing anything by living in the city, but quite the opposite. The scientists found that the birds living in urban areas were better at problem-solving than the ones from the countryside.
What was more surprising was that the city bullfinches actually had a better immunity than the ones in rural areas. The urban birds were better at everything, from problem-solving, to immunity and boldness. They were also more fearful of new objects but just as good at color-discrimination.
To figure out all these things, researchers put the birds through a series of tests which included the birds having to figure out where and how to get food in an easy way. They had the options of sliding jars using long handles, distinguishing between buttons that were colored differently. The birds living in the city had slightly better results than the ones living in the countryside, maybe because they had to adjust to the urban jungle and are now more experienced.
However, birds have been proving to be very smart lately, or, at least, a lot smarter than we previously thought. Recent studies showed that crows, one of the smartest species of bird, has besides a very sharp memory and the ability to pass on knowledge to their offspring, also the capacity to make and use tools to help them feed and get nutrients from their food.
All in all, birds are definitely smarter than we thought, and the ones that are urbanized seem to be not only more experienced but have also developed a better immunity and have become bolder.
Image source: www.bing.com