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DOI: 10.31862/2500-2961-2022-12-1-81-133

Behavioral changes in “urban” bird populations – nothing to do with domestication

The differences between behavioral changes during the urbanization of “wild” species of birds and mammals from domestic ones are discussed. Aggression, defensive, exploratory behavior and attitude to novelty in “urban” populations were analyzed in comparison with the initial ones. Unlike domestic animals, “urban” birds do not become “kind” or “trustful”. Their aggression increases along with courage and a better response to potential danger, a more accurate differentiation of it from “just worry”. Such an indicator as a decrease in the take-off distance (on average) in cities is a sign of a greater resistance of the population system to environmental stress, but not an increase in the gullibility of individuals to specific problems/hazards. As the species urbanizes, the frequency of bird behavior decreases. Aggression, courage, or flight from potential danger no longer characterize individuals, but situations. This is also true for taking risks, exploring new places and objects. All behavior is made as flexible as possible, contextual with better recognition of the specifics of the situation, more accurate choice of the method of action. Urbanization destroys the so-called behavioral syndrome: the correlations between exploration, courage, aggression, risk taking, and so on. Related forms of behavior in “urban” birds are mutually independent, in contrast to “rural” individuals.This maximizes the accuracy of a) the choice of behavior in a problem situation and b) switching to another form of activity according to the situation. The above is contrary to the changes associated with domestication, and is incompatible with their explanation based on the model of D.K. Belyaev. Their identification is an error based on a false analogy.


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