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A timeline for the urbanization of wild birds: The case of the lesser kestrel

The Lesser kestrel (Falco naumanni) evolved as a separate species in the Old-World kestrel radiation starting in the late Miocene. Given that the first cities were erected in the Holocene, this urban colonial raptor has only become a major town dweller recently in its evolutionary history. Today, more than 95% of lesser kestrel colonies in Spain and other Mediterranean countries are on buildings, and the remaining few are on rocky outcrops, that may have been the original nesting substrate for this cavity-nesting bird. Lesser kestrel fossils are well represented in cave sites, and their paleontological distribution, spanning from the Early Paleolithic to the Epipaleolithic, agrees well with its current breeding distribution. According to classical sources, such as the works of Columella and Pliny the Elder, and the presence of a skeletal remain in a Roman villa near Madrid, lesser kestrels may have nested in buildings and in urban settings for at least 2000e2500 years. However, there are no surviving colonies in structures older than 1400 years in Andalusia, nor in Spain. For a sample of 349 colonies on ancient buildings, a majority of the structures had been erected between the 15th and 17th centuries, this putting a time limit of about 300-600 years to the existence of those seemingly immemorial colonies. For specific towns and buildings, written references for the presence of lesser kestrel colonies do not go back more than two centuries. In fact, the Cathedral of Sevilla may be the structure with the longest continuous occupation by lesser kestrels recorded up to present time, from 1834 to 2020. Lesser kestrels were possibly too common in human settlements in the past as to be noted as special. This may explain the scarcity of references to the species until the 19th century. In any case, the same lack of information affects the other major Eurasian urban birds, as no timeline exist for the urbanization process of any other bird species. Here authors propose that lesser kestrels became urban breeders when both adequate cavities in buildings and cereal fields, where they capture their invertebrate prey, became available in their breeding range, several millennia ago. However, urban colonies, in contrast with the ones on stable geological substrates, have been forced to move from building to building when older ones became ruinous or were rebuilt, but new structures with suitable cavities became available throughout History. informacion[at] Negro et al (2020) A timeline for the urbanization of wild birds: The case of the lesser kestrel. Quaternary Sci Rev
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Society perceives the presence of Kramer's parrot worse the more common it becomes

Society perceives the presence of Kramer's parrot worse the more common it becomes

The perceptions of the general public regarding invasive alien species (IAS) are important in the prevention of future invasions and the success of management programmes. A novel visual method was used to investigate the perception of a charismatic IAS, the rose-ringed parakeet, across different stakeholders in Seville, Spain. Respondents were asked to select images of 10 bird species they would like to have present in their surroundings, out of 20 available images, including the parakeet and three other non-natives. This makes the survey easy, fast to take and attractive to potential participants, while prior and potentially biasing information of survey goals is minimised. Although more than 95% of the respondents recognised the parakeet, at least up to family level, only 34.8% selected it. Selection rates were even lower for three other IAS and even more so when the status of non-native species was indicated next to the images, suggesting that a social norm against IAS may be established. To validate this novel visual approach, perception via a traditional questionnaire was also assessed and the results of the two survey methods coincided. Finally parakeet selection differed importantly amongst pre-defined sectors of the public and people who had prior experience with the parakeet selected it less frequently (e.g. farmers, park managers). These results highlight the importance of studying different stakeholders to get the full picture when considering IAS management programmes. This new visual survey method can thus serve as an excellent and user-friendly tool to study people's perceptions regarding charismatic IAS and facilitate well-informed and sensible decision-making. informacion[at] Luna et al (2019) Assessment of social perception of an invasive parakeet using a novel visual survey method. NeoBiota DOI 10.3897/neobiota.42.31017