Intelligent birds are less likely to die in road accidents
- Around a quarter of a billion birds a year die from being run over worldwide
- But research has found birds have adapted a great deal to traffic
- Crows are known to prefer to change the lane they are in to face oncoming traffic
Birds with bigger brains are more likely to cross the road without dying, a study has found.
Around a quarter of a billion birds die from being hit by traffic each year around the world.
Researchers from the University of Paris and the House of Bird Research, in Denmark, said that such high numbers of birds dying in crashes was surprising.
Crows are known to prefer to change the lane they are in to face oncoming traffic
This is because research has previously found birds have adapted a great deal to traffic.
They have been observed to take in to account the direction of traffic and speed of lanes.
Crows, for instance, one of the brainiest of bird species, are known to prefer to change the lane they are in to face oncoming traffic.
Analysis of 3521 birds in a Danish taxidermy collection belonging to 251 species were analysed for the cause of death on their records.
The size of their brains and other organs were also assessed.
The researchers found that ‘birds that were killed in traffic indeed had relatively smaller brains’, while there was no difference for size of liver, heart or lungs.
The scientists, writing in the Royal Society journal Open Science, said: ‘These findings suggest that birds learn the behaviour of car drivers, and that they use their brains to adjust behaviour in an attempt to avoid mortality caused by rapidly and predictably moving objects.’
Around a quarter of a billion birds die from being hit by traffic each year around the world
Of total fatalities, around 365 million birds in the US and 57million birds die each year in Western Europe, the scientists Anders Pape Moller and Johannes Erritzoe estimate.
The authors say that traffic has only reached the level of a danger in the last century and the effect is too small to be causing changes to the evolution of birds, the authors said.
This is because deaths from road traffic accidents are likely to be only a ‘small fraction’ of overall mortality. The authors state that as there are an estimated 300billion birds in the world. Deaths from crossing roads are just 0.114 per cent of all deaths.
The same researchers found last year that birds with smaller brains were more likely to be shot.
Courtesy: Daily Mail Online