James ReynoldsAn ornithologist at the University of Birmingham and his colleagues are the latest their studies to present Conversation on its surface. The research also has a Hungarian aspect. Geno NagyA colleague from the University of Debrecen also participated in the investigation.
The team studied the interactions between birds and waste. It’s a well-known fact that marine life is being decimated by litter, especially plastic, and that birds are particularly threatened by their movements.
As experts point out, the media usually focuses on the negative effects of litter, but this time researchers are interested in how birds adapt to litter. Reynolds attempted to assess the role of human-derived materials in nest success and which species used the litter.
The team collected the literature and found nearly 35,000 nests of 176 species where anthropogenic material was described.
Affected animals are found on all continents except Antarctica, suggesting widespread nest waste use among birds.
The earliest sighting dates back to the 1830s. Animals mainly use plastic, but fabrics, paper, metals and other materials can also find their way into nests.
Which hypothesis can explain the behavior is verified by statistical models. They found that anthropogenic material was more likely to occur in the nests of species with a large difference in body size between males and females, and those that built complex, domed nests.
Surprisingly, the average lifespan of the species and the proximity of the nest to a new human habitat did not affect the behavior. No clear line of evolution supporting materials from us has been identified.
Experts encourage other researchers to collect data on how birds adapt to polluted environments. Such observations can be very valuable.