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Nature reserves say birdsong apps could disrupt wildlife in a major way

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Birdsong apps may be better suited for the rural backyard — 42 UK nature reserves run by the Dorset Wildlife Trust have begun warning visitors against their use inside of conservation areas. In a post on its website, the Trust said that it fears that animal call apps could be disrupting delicate species in a major way. Reportedly, use of such apps has become common among photographers hoping to snap a picture of hard-to-find birds. But the Trust says that doing this can disturb the birds, drawing them away from feeding their young and breeding.

The Trust isn't banning birdsong apps outright, but it has been putting up signs discouraging their use at the reserves. A spokesperson from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds said that use of the apps is "selfish and shows no respect to the bird." The Trust is particularly concerned about the Nightjar, a protected species that has so far been successful in recovering its numbers. The Nightjar's distinctive cry has reportedly made it a popular option for birdsong apps. The Trust suggests that use of the apps may actually be illegal in such cases, as it's considered an offense to intentionally disturb the Nightjar.