Monday, February 11, 2008

British Bird Feeding Studies

The Telegraph is reporting that a British bird survey found that more birds are found in affluent areas. Perhaps because people with discretionary income can afford more feeders and better seed? Here's an excerpt:

"Scientists say they have discovered that a high density of bird feeders and bird tables raises the overall numbers of birds in urban areas, independently of factors such as the presence of parks and large gardens.

However, the "bird feeder effect" found by researchers from Sheffield University varied markedly according to the social and economic status of the households in the area."

Read the rest of the story here.

In other British bird study news, Science Daily is reporting that feeding birds in winter gives them a potential advantage during breeding season:

"By providing some birds with extra food, such as peanuts, and leaving others to fend for themselves, the team was able to compare productivity between the two groups. Those that were given extra food laid eggs earlier and, although they produced the same number of chicks, an average of one more per clutch successfully fledged. Although it was well known that garden feeding helps many birds survive the winter, this is the first time that the benefits to spring breeding and productivity have been shown.

Dr Stuart Bearhop of the University of Exeter, corresponding author on the paper, said: "Our study shows that birds that receive extra food over winter lay their eggs earlier and produce more fledglings. While this research shows how the extra food we provide in winter helps the birds that take it, it is still unclear whether this has a knock-on effect on other species. This is something we are keen to investigate, but in the meantime I will certainly be putting out food for garden birds for the rest of the winter."

Read the rest of the story here.

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