Using citizen science data to investigate annual survival rates of resident birds in relation to noise and light pollution

Lauren D. Pharr, Caren B. Cooper, Brian Evans, Christopher E. Moorman, Margaret A. Voss, Jelena Vukomanovic, Peter P. Marra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Exponential increases in anthropogenic noise and light pollution have accompanied growth of the built environment. Noise and light cause negative consequences for birds, such as disrupted navigation during migration, mortality from collisions with windows and other infrastructure, and reduced reproductive success, as well as some positive consequences, such as expanded night niches for behaviors associated with feeding, territoriality, and mating. Relatively less is known about noise and light effects on annual survival of non-migratory birds, so we conducted an exploratory study to examine variation in adult survival rates of seven avian species in relation to noise and light pollution. We used 20 years of band-resight data collected as a part of the Neighborhood Nestwatch Program (NN), a citizen science project run by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, at 242 sites in greater Washington, D.C. USA. We estimated apparent survival and documented species-specific relationships with light and noise. Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) and House Wren (Thryothorus aedon) survival decreased and American Robin (Turdus migratorius) survival increased with greater amounts of anthropogenic light. Anthropogenic noise had no relationship with apparent survival for any of the seven species. Life-history trade-offs between survival and reproduction may account for differences in species-specific effects of light pollution. Future research should examine the availability of other fine scale environmental conditions, such as tree canopy cover, that might buffer avian exposure to noise and light pollution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1629-1637
Number of pages9
JournalUrban Ecosystems
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2023


  • Anthropogenic sound
  • Artificial light at night
  • Noise pollution
  • Sensory pollution
  • Urban ecology
  • Urbanization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Urban Studies


Dive into the research topics of 'Using citizen science data to investigate annual survival rates of resident birds in relation to noise and light pollution'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this