New York, December 28,2016: Traffic noise can reduce birds’ ability to hear an alarm call, thereby potentially increasing their vulnerability to predators, a new research has found.
“There has been lots of work on how anthropogenic noise affects vocal production, but much less on the response of animals to signals in the presence of noise,” said one of the researchers, Megan Gall, from Vassar College in New York.
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The researchers tested how traffic noise affected the reactions of Black-capped Chickadees and Tufted Titmice to alarm calls, which warn birds that a predator is nearby.
Using speakers set up near feeding platforms baited with bird seed, they recorded the birds’ responses to three different recordings — alarm calls alone, traffic noise alone, and a combination of the two.
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The traffic noise did not deter the birds from feeding, but five times as many birds approached speakers when the researchers played alarm calls on their own compared with when traffic sounds were added, according to the study published in the journal The Condor: Ornithological Applications.
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The findings suggest that excess noise in the environment from sources such as traffic can have negative effects on animals that rely on sound to communicate and get information about their surroundings. (IANS)
At a time when the builders across the world are busy building world class houses for humans, an organisation in Rajasthan is constructing beautiful and colourful houses for birds which promise accommodation ranging between one bedroom- hall-kitchen (BHK)-5 BHK for the avians.
The NGO Apna Sansthan, since May 2018, has been caring for birds in search of a roof under the scorching sun and heavy rains. Till date, over 30,000 bird houses have been built by the organisation in just over a year, says Apna Sansthan founder (Jaipur region) Ashok Sharma.
These bird houses come in different colours and designs.
“They are available in four variants — Wooden House, Mud House, Hard Board House and Stable House. The Wooden houses are decorated houses which are also water proof. They are little expensive as its costing and carving takes time and resources,” he said.
“The mud houses are mostly in demand in Rajasthan. We order potters to make these coloured houses. Around 10,000 such pots are being supplied across Rajasthan, of which Jaipur’s share remains around 3,000.
“One piece costs around Rs 60 with transport charges, which is quite economic and hence people go with it,” he added.
He next “dreamed” of making bird houses of hardboard.
“However, here I required the help of manufacturers who preferred donating Rs 2 per piece after hearing the noble cause. One piece cost around Rs 6. With their donations, I ordered 20,000 such bird houses where 3,000 were kept for my school, and the rest were distributed elsewhere.”
Sharma also runs a school here with classes up to the 8th standard.
The next in line were stable houses. One of such rare houses for birds was constructed in Jhunjhunu. There was a 10-floored apartment block created for birds which accommodates 1,100 houses.
“The total expense for building this stable house was Rs 3 lakh. However, people wanted to contribute for a cause for these birds who in summers and during rains search for shelter,” Sharma said.
“Basically, it’s a huge wall which has around 1,100 pockets for birds to rest.”
Sharma runs Apna Sansthan with Vinod Melana from Bhilwara who is the secretary of the organisation started in 2016.
The NGO is also engaged in water harvesting, sapling plantation, flora and fauna conservation, among many other activities.
According to the office bearers, it was started taking inspiration from Amritadevi Vishnoi who sacrificed her life along with ther lives of her daughters and 363 other people to save trees in 1730.
Narrating her story, Sharma said: “A party of the then Jodhpur ruler Maharaja Abhay Singh reached her village to fell ‘Khejri’ trees to construct his new palace when Amrita Devi protested against the royal attempt to cut trees as it is prohibited in the Bishnoi religion.
“She told them that cutting trees was an insult to her faith and she would rather give away her life to save these trees, saying that even if a tree is saved at the cost of one’s head, it’s worth it.
“Thereafter, the axes brought to cut the trees severed her head and of her daughters Asu, Ratni and Bhagu, who had offered their heads too,” he said.
Soon Bishnois fro 83 villages gathered and it was decided that one volunteer would sacrifice his or her life for every green tree to be cut. In this process, many lost their lives and 363 of them become martyrs,” he added.
Apna Sansthan has planted 5 lakh saplings in 7,200 villages in the state and are also celebrating the anniversaries of the plantings.
The bird houses are being distributed in birthday and anniversary parties as return gifts. Besides, new townships are being donated these bird houses.
“We conceived a better implementation of this idea when we attended the Paryawaran Kumbh organised in Varanasi in November 2018. Delegates from 146 nations attended this gathering, while interacting with them gave us the idea of how we can take up the bird houses project,” Sharma said.
At the Sharma-run school here, students and birds play and even eat together during lunchtime, which is somewhat of a rare scene to see.
“This is how we can build a relationship between kids and nature,” he says. (IANS)