Urban noise could have led to sparrow decline

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NOISE in urban areas is masking communication between bird parents and baby chicks, causing city-living birds to suffer, scientists at Sheffield University have revealed.

Researchers believe noise could make house sparrows less attentive because they are unable to hear their chicks’ cries.

Dr Julia Schroeder said: “Our study shows the first evidence for noise affecting breeding success in birds by interrupting communication between parents and offspring in a wild population.

“We have found a potential cause for the decline of sparrows in cities.”

The experts from Sheffield University studied house sparrows living on Lundy Island in the Bristol Channel.

Dr Schroeder added: “We believe that the noise from the generators on Lundy is comparable to the one made by cars in cities, and therefore, that noise impairing parent-offspring communication could be a reason for why sparrows decline in cities.”