Birds, once thought to be gloriously free, smart and quick moving have had their reputation tarnished with the invention of glass and in more recent times automobiles. as a side note This is similiar to the history of cyclists.
Well intentioned researchers have published research in the Journal of Zoology to see if it were possible to teach birds to avoid dying. Their conclusion was “no.”
lead author Dr. Travis DeVault had a theory that birds who hung out around cars more would develop skills necessary to avoid them. To test this theory the team gathered three groups of vehicle-naïve rock pigeons and trained them with 32 near-miss vehicle approaches. The training occured over 4 weeks at 60 and 120kmh and measured their flight initiation distance (FID) Aka, the distance birds decide is enough to get the fuck out of the way of a vehicle hurtling at them at 120kmh.
Inexperienced birds had a longer FID than the birds who got used to the passing vehicles. Birds who got used to vehicles got lulled into a false sense of security.
“Our study suggests that habituation to passing aircraft and automobiles could contribute to the frequency of bird collisions with these high-speed vehicles that are common worldwide,” meaning that birds are getting worse at avoiding vehicles.
So contrary to initial theory, city birds aren’t savvy birds, and it’s birds who have never seen a car before that have better chances of getting the shit scared out of them and flying away.
The study concluded that “Novel strategies should be developed to enhance avoidance responses to high-speed vehicles to minimize bird mortality.”
One idea is to create a catch-net on the front of the car that scoops up birds, because a bird in the net is more valuable than a dead bird in a bush.
So for everyone who was hoping that hitting all those birds would teach all their peers a lesson, it didn’t. Birds have no empathy, they have no concept of consequences, and they’re angry. Watch yourself!