Study

Farmland birds show species-specific responses to supplementary feeding in two UK studies

  • Published source details Siriwardena G.M. & Stevens D.K. (2004) Effects of habitat on the use of supplementary food by farmland birds in winter. Ibis, 146, 144-154

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Provide supplementary food for birds or mammals

Action Link
Farmland Conservation

Provide supplementary food for songbirds to increase adult survival

Action Link
Bird Conservation
  1. Provide supplementary food for birds or mammals

    The results from two replicated studies from the UK found that the factors affecting the use of supplementary food by a range of farmland songbirds were not consistent across species or regions (Siriwardena & Stevens 2004). The ‘Bird Aid’ programme (run between October and March in the winters of 2000-2001 until 2002-2003 across the UK) found that all three target species (tree sparrow Passer montanus, yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella and corn bunting Miliaria calandra) used supplementary food, consisting of 25 kg of seeds supplied each week. Tree sparrow and yellowhammer tended to use feeding stations more if they were closer to cover and in mixed landscapes, the opposite was true for corn bunting. The Winter Food for Birds project, run from October 2002 to March 2003 at ten replicates of seven sites across eastern England, found that six of eight target species used supplementary food, consisting of 5 kg each of millet and sunflower seeds supplied each week, sufficiently often for analysis. At both the local and landscape scale, only human habitats and woodlands had uniform effects, increasing and decreasing the use for three and four species respectively. All other habitats had different impacts on different species. Results from the same experimental set-up are also presented in (Defra 2005, Siriwardena et al. 2006, Defra 2007, Siriwardena et al. 2007, Siriwardena et al. 2008).

     

  2. Provide supplementary food for songbirds to increase adult survival

    The results from two replicated studies found that contextual variables affecting the use of supplementary food by a range of farmland songbirds were not consistent across species or regions (Siriwardena & Stevens 2004). The ‘BirdAid’ programme (run between October and March in the winters of 2000-1 until 2002-3 across the UK) found that all three target species (tree sparrows Passer montanus, yellowhammers Emberiza citrinella and corn buntings Miliaria calandra) used supplementary food, consisting of 25 kg of seeds supplied each week. Tree sparrows and yellowhammers tended to use feeding stations more if they were closer to cover and in mixed landscapes, the opposite was true for corn buntings. The Winter Food for Birds project, run from October 2002 to March 2003 at ten replicates of seven sites across eastern England, found that six of eight target species used supplementary food, consisting of 5 kg each of millet and sunflower seeds supplied each week, sufficiently often for analysis. At the local and landscape scale, only human habitats and woodlands had uniform effects, increasing and decreasing the use for three and four species respectively. All other habitats had different impacts on different species.

     

Output references

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