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Climate and Environment

LA's Bird Population Is On The Decline, Study Says

A small brown and white bird perches on a brown branch. The bird keeps his eyes on the light blue horizon.
Los Angeles' bird population has declined in the last 100 years, according to a new UC Berkeley study.
(Franco Folini)
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More than one third of L.A.'s bird species have declined due to climate change and urbanization in the last 100 years, according to a new UC Berkeley study. The findings say that less precipitation, rising temperatures and increasing urban development have displaced various bird species in the last century.

Why it's happening: With a hotter, drier climate and less green spaces, many birds have lost places to live and eat. The study notes that encroaching urban sprawl has resulted in less natural land cover and increased mortality risk "due to predation by domestic cats and collisions with automobiles and building windows."

The backstory: Researchers tracked birds around the region and compared their findings to data collected in the 1890s. Surveying over 70 locations, they examined land use, average temperature and average rainfall over the decades.

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How to help: Steve Beissinger, a UC Berkeley ecology professor who authored the study, says maintaining green spaces throughout the city can allow birds to find refuge in more suitable habitats. Also, keeping your feline friends inside can deter them from preying on birds in your neighborhood.

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