Where Have All the Pigeons Gone
The few systematic studies on the wildlife of impacted towns and cities performed during and after World War II show that bombed areas were rapidly colonized by plants and animals, and in this general sense wildlife showed a high degree of resilience. In this chapter we summarize the outcomes of studies on urban plants and animals in three European towns or cities severely hit by the war, that is, London, Viipuri (Vyborg) and Leningrad (St. Petersburg). Plant species compositions were rather similar in the early phases of succession in London and in Viipuri, in spite of differences in surrounding vegetation. Also certain bird species such as the black redstart seem to have benefitted from bombings that created for them suitable feeding and nesting habitats. Both World War II and the subsequent Cold War indirectly contributed to the origin of modern urban ecology.