You’ve heard the expression: a canary in a coal mine. Because birds are more sensitive to airborne poisons than are humans, in the 1920s, John Scott Haldane suggested that coal miners in England bring caged canaries with them. If the mining chamber filled with deadly carbon monoxide gas, the caged bird would die first, and the miners would have time to get out before perishing themselves.
Researchers are now looking at historic collections of bird specimens over time to see how they have been affected by, and in some cases, adapted to, changes of climate over the years. Benjamin Zuckerberg, Professor of Forest and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, has been looking at a familiar backyard bird, the Northern Cardinal.
Eight O’Clock Buzz host Brian Standing talks with Benjamin Zuckerberg, Professor of Forest and Wildlife Ecology at UW Madison about his research on air pollution, birds & environmental health.