Anthropogenic noise has been shown to impact animal behaviour. Most studies investigating anthropogenic noise, and the detrimental effect it has on behaviour, have been conducted in the field, where a myriad of covariates can make interpretation challenging. In this experiment, we studied the effects of an approximation of anthropogenic noise, simulated with brown noise, on the feeding behaviour of wild-caught black-capped chickadees in a laboratory setting. We measured the amount of time spent eating while subjects heard either conspecific calls, brown noise, or a combination of calls and brown noise. We found that subjects fed more in the silence following playback than during the playback itself for all types of stimuli, suggesting that chickadees may shift their feeding behaviour to avoid feeding during periods of noise. The ability to adapt to changing environments (e.g., varying noise levels) may allow species to thrive in the presence of anthropogenic noise. Our findings outline a laboratory-based method that could be adopted and adapted to examine a variety avian species and of types anthropogenic noise.
Leave a Reply