Safe In Cities

This spring I've been amazed at the diversity of birds nesting in the city.  Why are they here?  Isn't it more dangerous to nest in an urban area?

It turns out that city living offers some protection.

From 2004 through 2009, Ohio State University's School of Environment and Natural Resources conducted a study on nesting success in the cities, suburbs and forests of central Ohio.  The results were surprising.

In rural areas, as expected, the study showed that where the number of predators is high, nest survival is low. 

But in the city this correlation breaks down.  Even though there are more predators, nest survival has no relationship to their number.

Why is this?

"We think that the reason for the lack of connection between predator and prey within urban landscapes is due to the amount of food provided by humans in urban areas," said Amanda Rodewald, first author of the study and professor at OSU.

In other words, if the predators find something else to eat they don't raid nests.

So now I don't feel bad when the crows eat garbage.  It's far better than eating baby robins!

Read more about the OSU study in Science Daily.

(photo of a black redstart's nest by Michael Apel in Wikimedia Commons)

One thought on “Safe In Cities

  1. I always chuckle at the gulls that frequent the dumpster at my workplace. They will shake and shake and shake a paper bag endlessly almost as if they shake it one more time a fully uneaten double cheeseburger will fall out. They are so persistent sometimes, I almost feel bad. I want to go out there and plant a double cheeseburger.

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