A recent study published in the journal Nature Communications sheds light on what types of wild birds have become most tolerant of interaction with humans. The authors found that large birds are more tolerant of humans than small birds. They also report that birds living in more populated urban environments are more tolerant of human interaction than rural and suburban birds.
Birds that have become used to living in and around human population centers are more comfortable around human activity than isolated bird populations. Larger size also increases their willingness to coexist with humans. Examples include pelicans and seagulls…no surprise to people who live near the water and see these birds hanging around docks and piers all the time.
Other major factors that contribute to birds’ tolerance of humans include diet, clutch size, migration habits, and habitat preferences. Species that produce more eggs are less tolerant of humans than those that produce fewer eggs. Herbivorous and omnivorous birds are more comfortable around people than carnivorous birds. Birds that prefer open habitats are more tolerant than those that like closed, secluded habitats.
The authors also note that tolerance of humans increases when birds migrate, live in larger groups, and forage for food on the ground. They warn that large birds living near humans are most vulnerable to death and injury due to hunting and other human activities, including species that are already endangered.
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