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Stress from oil and gas noise causes birds to ‘dial down’

Cara J

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The constant noise at oil and gas sites creates ongoing stress for birds, prompting them to “dial down” their stress response to deal with the incessant sound, researchers in New Mexico found. While birds showed other negative impacts, including impaired reproductive output, their stress hormone levels actually dropped, researchers found, in a counterintuitive response to the endless noise. “Birds in noise can’t perceive their environment as they should be able to, so they’re on edge at all times,” said Nathan Kleist, lead author on the paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. “They don’t know whether there are predators in the area because they can’t hear other signals. They trade off vigilance for other important behaviors like feeding or brooding.” From 2012 to 2014, Kleist and his team examined birds nesting in the Bureau of Land Management’s Rattlesnake Canyon Habitat Management Area in San Juan County, New Mexico. Past studies had shown that noise from roads, cities and other human development interfere with the vocalizations of birds. Kleist wanted to assess the impacts from oil and gas enterprises. Gas compressor stations, often on federal lands, can produce a nonstop drone over 80 decibels — as loud as a [...]


Read more: http://wildlife.org/stress-from-oil-and-gas-noise-causes-birds-to-dial-down/

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