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Cara J

JWM Study: Non-perching birds avoid gas wells

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Grassland songbirds have suffered more declines than any other group of birds in North America because swaths of their habitat have been degraded by agriculture and development, including natural gas infrastructure. Ongoing research from Alberta suggests that birds that don’t perch avoid gas wellheads, whereas perching species are more likely to be found around these tubes erected on the prairie. “Birds that like fences and shrubs to perch on, whether it’s to vocally display for breeding, look for predators or get to food sources, seem to like to be near gas wells,” said Jennifer Rodgers, first author on the paper published in the April issue of the Journal of Wildlife Management. Rodgers began examining the impact of conventional shallow gas wells on grassland songbirds for her master’s work, part of a longer term study development at the University of Manitoba on how these birds respond to continuing oil and gas development. She wanted to see how the four-meter-tall orange tubes influenced how many birds were nearby. New wellheads promote the growth of invasive species, so she was curious about how changes in vegetation or numbers of wells might affect birds. In 2010 and 2011, Rodgers and her fellow researchers recorded [...]

 

Read more: http://wildlife.org/jwm-study-non-perching-birds-avoid-gas-wells/

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