You must log in or register to comment.

Helicase21 OP t1_itjg7l7 wrote


Urbanization is one of the most widespread and extreme examples of habitat alteration. As humans dominate landscapes, they introduce novel elements into environments, including artificial light, noise pollution, and anthropogenic food sources. One understudied form of anthropogenic food is refuse from restaurants, which can alter wildlife populations and, in turn, entire wildlife communities by providing a novel and stable food source. Using data from the Maricopa Association of Governments and the Central Arizona-Phoenix Long Term Ecological Research (CAP LTER) project, we investigated whether and how the distribution of restaurants influences avian communities. The research aimed to identify restaurants, and thus the associated food they may provide, as the driver of potential patterns by controlling for other influences of urbanization, including land cover and the total number of businesses. Using generalized linear mixed models, we tested whether the number of restaurants within 1 km of bird monitoring locations predict avian community richness and abundance and individual species abundance and occurrence patterns. Results indicate that restaurants may decrease avian species diversity and increase overall abundance. Additionally, restaurants may be a significant predictor of the overall abundance of urban-exploiting species, including rock pigeon (Columba livia), mourning dove (Zenaida macroura), and Inca dove (Columbina Inca). Understanding how birds utilize anthropogenic food sources can inform possible conservation or wildlife management practices. As this study highlights only correlations, we suggest further experimental work to address the physiological ramifications of consuming anthropogenic foods provided by restaurants and studies to quantify how frequently anthropogenic food sources are used compared to naturally occurring sources.


executiveADHDcoach t1_itk0it3 wrote

My balcony overlooks a McDonald's and a KFC dumpster. The area is always full of crows, ravens (and human addicts).


Ralltir t1_itkvjfd wrote

Super interesting but not all that surprising to anyone who likes birds. They’re smart. Anyone else love that crows can use tools?

I’m surprised that some don’t seem to have negative health effects or at least not yet.

> Additionally, experimental research demonstrated the ability of pigeons and other Columbidae to subsist on diets consisting of foods commonly associated with restaurants (e.g., highly refined foods including white bread and french-fries; [26, 98]). The previous research suggests that Columbidae may be highly adept at using these resources leading to an overall increase in their abundance


JeffBrownEcology t1_itqeknk wrote

Many species of Columbidae have an incredible ability to tolerate incredibly high blood sugar levels. In humans, we would consider these birds diabetic, but, at least in lab settings, the birds are not impacted.


Ralltir t1_itqiqi7 wrote

This might be a stupid question but do we know why that is?


JeffBrownEcology t1_itqjiym wrote

Not a stupid question and, in fact, the driving question for a lot of current research. Birds, in general regulate blood sugar a lot differently than mammals but the exact mechanisms they use to do so is still being studied.

Not a stupid question and, in fact, the driving question for a lot of current research. Birds, in general, regulate blood sugar a lot differently than mammals but the exact mechanisms they use to do so are still being studied.


1Surlygirl t1_itk59za wrote

Nonstick fumes kill birds. It's not good for any living thing.


AutoModerator t1_itjg5ot wrote

Welcome to r/science! This is a heavily moderated subreddit in order to keep the discussion on science. However, we recognize that many people want to discuss how they feel the research relates to their own personal lives, so to give people a space to do that, personal anecdotes are now allowed as responses to this comment. Any anecdotal comments elsewhere in the discussion will continue to be removed and our normal comment rules still apply to other comments.

I am a bot, and this action was performed automatically. Please contact the moderators of this subreddit if you have any questions or concerns.


Patentsmatter t1_itkgqtz wrote

is this a contestant for the IgNobel prize?


Helicase21 OP t1_itl40ox wrote

No, it's absolutely legitimate research. It's just a somewhat fun title that the authors chose, which is totally their prerogative.


JeffBrownEcology t1_itqe5jp wrote


I actually wrote this. Although the results may seem obvious, there is very little work that has quantified the impact restaurants have on avian communities. Happy to answer any questions.