Academic journal article Science and Children

Small, Rural Owl Fearlessly Colonizes the City

Academic journal article Science and Children

Small, Rural Owl Fearlessly Colonizes the City

Article excerpt

When most people think of a city, images of traffic, pollution, and crowds spring to mind. The metropolis doesn't seem to be the most ideal habitat for any animals other than humans. However, Spanish and Argentinean scientists have demon strated that some species, such as the burrowing owl, have spent decades closing in on the city from the country without suffering from stress.

The accelerated rate of human population growth and the consequent expansion of urban areas is one of the greatest threats to the conservation of biodiversity in the world. This is due to the presence of new competitors, noise, changes to food sources, light pollution, and human disturbances. In this way, different studies suggest that, amongst other things, urban habitats can be a significant source of stress for animals living there.

Yet while the majority of species are not able to survive in these modified environments, others live there successfully and their populations even grow to greater numbers than in their natural environments. "This suggests that maybe urban areas are not always a source of stress," says researcher Martina Carrete.

The new study has analyzed the situation of burrowing owls (Athene cunicularia), which have colonized the city of Bahia Blanca, in the province of Buenos Aires, Argentina, in just a few decades. …

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