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Study suggests birds pay attention to speed limits

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    Digital writers

    Friday, August 23, 2013, 3:45 PM -

    European birds are learning to adjust their flight patterns in response to speed limits, a recent study by the Royal Society suggests.

    File photo

    File photo

    "Behavioural responses can help species persist in habitats modified by humans," the study's authors write in the paper's abstract, which appears online at Biology Letters.

    "Here, we tested whether common European birds changed their flight initiation distances (FIDs) in response to vehicles according to road speed limit (a known factor affecting killing rates on roads) and vehicle speed. We found that FID increased with speed limit, although vehicle speed had no effect. This suggests that birds adjust their flight distance to speed limit, which may reduce collision risks and decrease mortality maximizing the time allocated to foraging behaviours."

    Researchers say the paper could help improve conservation efforts by demonstrating birds' ability to adapt to an urban environment.

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