Air Pollution from Wildfires Impacts Ability to Observe Birds

Source: US National Institute of Food and Agriculture News

Smoke from the fires in Washington State in the summer of 2015, courtesy of Getty Images.

As smoky air becomes more common during Washington’s wildfire season, many wildlife enthusiasts wonder: What happens to the birds? Researchers provide a first look at the probability of observing common birds as air pollution worsens during wildfire seasons. They found that smoke affected the ability to detect more than a third of the bird species studied in Washington state over a four-year period. Sometimes smoke made it harder to observe birds, while other species were easier to detect when smoke was present. This research was funded by the National Science Foundation and the McIntire-Stennis Cooperative Forestry Research Program from USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. For more information, read the University of Washington article.