The largest owl in North America, the Snowy Owl. New research shows that this individuals size may help with his popularity among us humans, but his lack of colour might not (Image Credit: USFWS Mountain-Prairie, CC BY 2.0, Image Cropped)
Characterizing the cultural niches of North American birds (2019) Schuetz & Johnston, PNAS, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1820670116
For all our attempts to maintain objectivity in science, often the reality is that the more people value a bird species, the more likely our conservation efforts are to be successful through public support. As such, figuring out which birds are popular, and where, could give us some crucial information on where we’ll need to fight hardest to help species persist, and where our efforts at science communication could use some work.
This week we look at a novel paper that tries to assess which types of North American birds are popular with the public, and whether that popularity is confined only to their home states, or whether it is shown in surrounding areas as well.