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Food for thought
Date:4/3/2008

ariety of outcomes they discovered in their work point to a real need for more comprehensive research on the topic. Although bird feeding itself may seem somewhat marginal, an incredible number of people do it. Surveys conducted in the US in 2003 revealed that more than 43 percent of those asked give birds some kind of food. In the UK, surveys indicate that as much as 75 percent of the general public feeds the birds.

Changing the natural dynamics of food supply at such a large scale represents a major intervention in the ecology of birds, says Robb. But we have a remarkably limited understanding of the impacts of bird feeding.

There have been relatively few studies conducted which incorporate urban and suburban yards, for example, and very few studies have run for more than one or two years or considered more than one species. Robb and Bearhop plan to continue their investigations at field sites in Northern Ireland and Cornwall.

It seems highly likely that natural selection is being disrupted, Robb says.


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Contact: Nadine Lymn
nadine@esa.org
202-833-8773
Ecological Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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