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Noisy Modern World Drowns Out Cries of Hunger July 20, 2012
Swallow feeding chick in bird house
Urban noise can make it difficult for adult sparrows to hear the cries of their hungry young.
An alarming decline in the number of sparrows could be linked to the noise of modern city life drowning out the chirps between the birds’ parents and their chicks, according to a new study.

Researchers from the U.K.’s University of Sheffield found that noise can interfere with nestlings’ ability to communicate that they are hungry.

This can result in them becoming malnourished compared to birds raised in more quiet environments.

Other research has indicated that a shortage of food for chicks during summer appears to be responsible for a 66 percent decline in the U.K.’s sparrow population between 1970 and 2009.

The latest study compared the weight of birds leaving the nest near a loud power generator on Lundy Island with those in quieter areas.

Birds living in quiet barns and woodlands were fed more by their parents than those around the generator, meaning they had a better chance of survival.

Photo: File