Birds Evolve Shorter Wings to Escape Traffic Crush

16:37 minutes

Cars and trucks kill some 80 million birds a year on U.S. roads, a source of death that may now be a powerful force of natural selection. Charles Brown, a behavioral ecologist at the University of Tulsa, says cliff swallows caught for research have shorter wings than their kin killed on roads–possibly because shorter wings bestow better maneuverability in traffic.

Segment Guests

Charles Brown

Charles Brown is a behavioral ecologist and professor in the department of biological sciences at the University of Tulsa in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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About Christopher Intagliata

Christopher Intagliata is Science Friday’s senior producer. He once served as a prop in an optical illusion and speaks passable Ira Flatowese.