Bird diversity drops where cities heat up

Pavement and heat-retaining buildings may push higher bird diversity to the greener suburbs

Birds may not favor cities when the temperature turns up. A study conducted across 336 cities in China revealed features like heat-retaining buildings and large proportions of pavement had less diversity than cooler suburban areas with more greenery. This effect occurred regardless of the size or location of the city and across all seasons. However, it was stronger during the birds’ non-breeding season, the authors found. This urban heat island effect and the patterns it creates are likely, “occurring in other large cities across the globe that have abundant asphalt, steel and concrete and little green vegetation,” said Frank La Sort in a press release. La Sort is a senior research associate at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and an author of the study published recently in Science of the Total Environment.

Read more at the Cornell Chronicle.

Header Image: Bird diversity was higher in cooler parts of Chinese cities. Credit: yuen yan