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Experience with vehicles does not help birds avoid collisions

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Researchers suspected that experience with passing vehicles may cause birds to adjust their avoidance responses–specifically, to increase their flight initiation distances–to keep from being hit. Instead, though, they recently found that inexperienced birds have longer flight initiation distances in response to oncoming vehicles than birds that have repeatedly observed passing, fast-moving vehicles.

Also, even the heightened avoidance response of inexperienced birds was inadequate to cope with high vehicle speeds.

"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," said Dr. Travis DeVault, lead author of the Journal of Zoology article.

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