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August 29, 2019 - New York Times

Hanging Out With Humans Makes This Seed-Eating Bird Bad at Its Job

Hanging Out With Humans Makes This Seed-Eating Bird Bad at Its Job
Credit: Andrea Lightfood

At times, our habits and behaviors are contagious enough to change whole ecosystems.

According to a study published in Royal Society Open Science on Wednesday, members of a particular New Zealand bird species, weka, that spend time around humans become worse at a crucial task: seed dispersal.

Humans can be a terrible influence on birds. Crows that live near us end up with high cholesterol, sparrows screech to be heard over oil pumps, and instead of migrating, some storks now just eat trash.

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