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Chicks do worse in noisy nests

Human-caused racket may cut baby bluebird survival

ALBUQUERQUE — Baby bluebirds don’t survive as well near rumbling traffic and other human din as they do amid natural lullabies.

In a Virginia study, 35 percent more chicks died in the noisiest nests than in the most remote ones. Researchers found that chicks didn’t adjust for the noise by begging louder or at different frequencies. So parents may not have gotten the right cues for nestling care, behavioral ecologist John Swaddle suggested June 12 at the annual meeting of the Animal Behavior Society.

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