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BREAKING: Idaho Activates Statewide Crisis Standards Of Care

How Light And Noise Pollution Affects Bird Populations In Idaho

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David A Mitchell
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Flickr Creative Commons
Mountain chickadees are one of the species in Idaho affected by light or noise pollution.

America’s bird population is in decline. Some studies show that as much as 30% of the population across species has been lost. So, what is to blame for this shocking loss of birds?

New research from universities, including Boise State University, is painting a more complete picture of what is causing the decline. Two of the factors — light pollution and noise pollution — are human-caused.

"[Idaho] definitely ha[s] some of the quietest and darkest places left, but we also have...a lot of land that's exposed to a lot of light and noise. Think about Highway 55 on the way up to McCall, how consistently busy that is with traffic."

Joining Idaho Matters to talk about this research is Jesse Barber, biology professor at Boise State who helped lead this recent study. Barber says that the focus of the research was on nesting, which correlates directly to mating and reproduction among bird species.

Although Idaho is a more wild state than many others in the U.S., birds in the Gem State are not immune to the affects of light and sound pollution.  

Barber says that the research harnessed citizen science from across the country. Mountain chickadees and white-chested nuthatches are two Idaho species affected by light and noise pollution.

Have a question or comment for the show? Tweet @KBSX915 using #IdahoMatters

Frankie Barnhill is the Senior Producer of Idaho Matters, Boise State Public Radio's daily show and podcast. She's always interested in hearing surprising and enlightening stories about life in the West. Have an idea for Idaho Matters? Drop her a line!