Gas and Oil Pumps Are a Boon to Parasitic Cowbirds

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Atlas Obscura

July 31, 2017

THE NORTHERN GREAT PLAINS OF Canada are expansive grasslands, where shrubs and trees are few and very far between. But the flat landscape is increasingly interrupted by signs of human development—oil and natural gas pumps and roads crisscrossing the prairie. Roughly 135 square miles of grassland are impacted each year by the oil and gas industries, and all these disturbances fragment the prairie ecosystem. It’s along the edges of those fragments that ecologists are seeing changes in how species interact.

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Image: Kati Fleming/CC-BY-3.0

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