City birds are smarter than country birds and have stronger immune systems, a small study has found.
Researchers have discovered key differences in problem-solving ability and resistance to infection among birds that live in urban environments and those from rural landscapes. City birds performed better in cognitive tests and exceeded their country counterparts in exploiting new resources, according to a team of McGill University researchers.
“We found that not only were birds from urbanized areas better at innovative problem-solving tasks than bullfinches from rural environments, but that surprisingly urban birds also had a better immunity than rural birds,” said Jean-Nicolas Audet, the author of the study published in the journal Behavioral Ecology. “It seems that in this case, the urban birds have it all.”
The research team used 53 bullfinches captured from different parts of Barbados for the study. Birds from the more developed areas of the Caribbean island were able to open drawers to access food faster and had bolder temperaments. Researchers said the behaviors show that living in cities affects cognition, behavior and physiology of birds in their favor.