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University of Manitoba study finds birds have changed their habits during COVID-19

A western meadowlark is seen in this file photo. Researchers from the University of Manitoba has found birds have changed their habits across North America during COVID-19 lockdowns. AP Photo/David Zalubowski

New research shows that roads and runways quieted by COVID-19 are filling with birdsong instead.

Scientists at the University of Manitoba have led a study that looked at how reduced travel related to the pandemic has affected birds from hawks to hummingbirds across North America.

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They drew on millions of sightings posted on eBird, a popular citizen science site where bird lovers share what they’ve seen.

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Lead author Nicola Koper says that 80 per cent of the 82 different bird species they looked at changed their behaviour around roads and airports where lockdowns or other measures were in place.

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Sightings of almost all birds went up where restrictions had been imposed.

Koper says the findings suggest cities could be more bird-friendly with less traffic and disturbance from human transportation.

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