Roadside birds can figure out the speed limit

| October 9, 2013

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Who would have ever known that a bird may be capable of figuring out the speed limit on a certain stretch of road?

Pierre Legagneux, a biologist at the University of Quebec in Rimouski, suggests they can do just that. Legagneux noticed that common European birds standing on the side of the road were inclined to fly away from a vehicle coming at them when the car was a particular distance away, according to an NBC News report.

The distance varied between roads, but the actual speed of an approaching car didn’t. Legagneux told National Geographic that the birds reacted the same way regardless of the speed of the vehicle, according to the NBC News report.

The researcher thinks that birds that learn to respond to cars based on the speed limits of certain roads have an advantage over those that don’t, according to the online news report. The birds that don’t overreact to approaching vehicles are able to spend more time looking for food while still protecting themselves from any approaching cars.

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