Central Coast Scientists Find That Noise Pollution From Human Activity Hinders Birds' Reproduction

Jan 31, 2018

Scientists on the Central Coast are finding just how much birds suffer as a result of noise pollution from human activity.

Clint Francis, an assistant professor in biological sciences at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, joined researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder and the Florida Museum of Natural History to take a closer look at how noise from oil and gas operations impacts birds.

The study found that noise hinders the birds’ reproduction, causing the chicks growth to be stunted.

Francis says the noise particularly affected the western bluebird, which nests in both noisy and quiet areas.

“We had previously thought that this species was probably pretty tolerant to noise. Yet, we ended up finding that this species ends up having the most costs. And what I mean by that is there’s more eggs that are laid that end up not hatching in the noisiest of environments,” he said.

The research found that the birds had lower stress hormone levels, which is similar to humans who have post-traumatic stress disorder.