Tuesday, September 11, 2007

For the birds ...

Our dogs love a nice hike in woods, where they get to smell the world and all its critters. And I'm quite fond of birds, although I'm not really a birdwatcher--I can't get the hang of using binoculars and I couldn't imagine keeping lists of what I've see--I still think they're cool to watch and fun to hear. My husband's quite fond of photographing them. So I was rather distressed to see this article in the NY Times about research indicating that even leashed dogs in a forest reduce the number and diversity of birds present, at least in the short run.
The researchers chose trails in places where dogs were banned and in other areas where dog walking was common, expecting different results in each. “We thought that where there was regular dog walking birds would get used to it,” Dr. Banks said. “Well, they didn’t.”

Regardless of the type of area, dog walking led to a 35 percent reduction in the number of bird species and a 41 percent reduction in overall bird numbers, compared with the control. (People walking alone caused some disturbance, but less than half that caused by people with dogs.)

That's a bit of a bummer.

2 comments:

Chris said...

The dogs probably don't consider this a problem.

Lisa B. said...

True. Although Lucy is a bit concerned about the melting of the polar ice caps ...