Wednesday, March 18, 2015

How US cities woke up to urban wildlife

I wouldn't say they are awake yet though...

"Though it may be too soon to call it an urban wildlife movement, initiatives focused on urban biodiversity seem to be catching on."

"A new study in the journal Landscape and Urban Planning also looks at better ways of understanding urban wildlife and habitat in combination. The study uses birds as bio-indicators for other wildlife types because they are easier to count than shy, often nocturnal, mammals, and because they are more broadly familiar to the public. "They’re active during the day, they’re colorful, they sing," says Susannah Lerman, a University of Massachusetts ornithologist and lead author of the new study. "So even if most people know nothing about wildlife, they know something about birds."

"Accommodating wildlife in cities doesn’t necessarily require massive investment, says Lerman. You can bring in more birds, she says, just by breaking up endless lawns with the right kinds of shrubs, to create structure and variety. Mowing those lawns a little less often — not weekly but every two or three weeks — will increase the population of native bees and other pollinators. As for bird feeders, they don’t necessarily increase overall bird populations, but they do present one significant hazard: They can become "ecological traps," luring birds to their deaths in a sort of cat smorgasbord. Just keeping cats indoors, says Lerman, could prevent the loss of billions of birds in the United States every year. "

Read the full article here:

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