They may peck greedily at feeding tables – and have it easier than country birds do in the warmer urban winters – but city birds, it turns out, are in turmoil on the inside. By Aisling Irwin Researchers have found that many internal defence mechanisms that are quiet in rural birds are much more active in those in cities. These biological pathways are pumping out extra antioxidants, immune system cells and detoxifiers – a sign that urban life is challenging their health. Globally, bird numbers are dropping. According to figures published by conservation organisation BirdLife International last year, 40% of bird species have
Self-driving cars will change how we live, in all sorts of ways. But they won’t just affect us humans – the coming revolution in autonomous transport has significant implications for wildlife as well. Nature conservationists and planners need to think hard about the impact of driverless vehicles, most notably in terms of renewed urban sprawl.