Impacts of COVID-19 restrictions on wildlife

The effect of Covid-19 lock-down travel restrictions on avian species in the UK and North America.

This project was a collaboration with the C19-WILD research group with Prof. Nicola Koper at the Natural Resources Institute at the University of Manitoba.  Dr. Michael Schrimpf has been leading the study examining the effect of COVID-19 travel restrictions on birds in North America, which has been published here. I am leading the study examining birds in the United Kingdom, which was published in Proceedings B. 

Birds in the UK use a variety of habitats, some of which may be more impacted by the change in human activity associated with the Covid19 lock-down. Since the start of lock-down, Britons on average spent more time in their home gardens, which means these bird habitats may be more occupied with human activity during the day. Likewise, some green areas, like popular wooded areas may have saw an increase in human activity due to the daily exercise allowance whilst other green spaces, such as local historical trust gardens, park and woodlands, and wildlife trusts have remained closed and hence seen a decrease in human activity. Urban habitats and roadside areas (like hedgerows) also saw a decrease in human activity. Many species that inhabited these different habitats were affected by the sudden change in human activity in different ways.

Read our Science Advances paper: Reduced human activity during COVID-19 alters avian land use across North America

see "Nature's Big Year" to be broadcast on CBC "Nature of Things" documentary film, highlighting some of our work.