Winter feeding of birds can confuse the range of species


Winter feeding of birds may adversely affect bird species in various ways, British researchers guard in their study In the journal Biological Conservation.

First, winter feeding can disrupt the relationship between bird species and threaten species diversity, the study BBC:n the story says.

The idea is that when overwintering species get plenty of food, even in difficult winters, their populations become stronger. In this way, they gain a competitive advantage over migratory birds.

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Migratory birds face a large number of well-to-do competitors when they return from a difficult journey. In Britain, the blue tit has been thought to take its best nesting grounds in front of the hummingbird and the capercaillie.

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In Finland, at least, there is no evidence of such a skew. Here, the wintering talitint and the migratory bird rainbow trout are fighting over the same nest escapes. The stock of the rainbow trout has remained stable, although the titties have increased.

On the other hand, after the winter, prosperous birds can mislead migrants.

“There is evidence that migratory birds are looking for areas where existing place birds are actively singing, as this usually indicates the adequacy of food. However, if there is only a long period of winter feeding behind the good situation, it does not tell anything about the other nutritional situation, ”says Professor Emeritus of Animal Physiology. That Hohtola From the University of Oulu.

The species that remain here also use winter feeding in different ways. The species most enthusiastic about feeding places benefit more from them than those that stay in the forest.

Another concern related to winter feeding is the risks to birds of visiting feeding places. They spread diseases effectively.

A clear example is the green finch, whose population collapsed in northern Europe in ten years due to less than half a severe parasitic disease. The disease spread especially in feeding places.

“On the other hand, the population of the greenfinch would never have grown so large without winter feeding,” says Hohtola.

Feeding can also attract predators that remain nearby to tip eggs and chicks. Squirrels and weasels are known to be found near feeding grounds.

In Hohtola’s opinion, however, it is not worth exaggerating the risks.

“Taken as a whole, winter feeding does benefit the birds that seek it.”

Another author of British research Alex Lees estimates in a BBC interview that winter feeding is justified in urban areas or agricultural areas where man has significantly modified the ecosystem.

“But if you go to untouched nature and take food there, it will mess up the ecosystem,” Lees says.

Chief Curator Aleksi Lehikoinen The Central Museum of Natural History states that there is no research on the consequences of feeding. British research is also largely based on assumptions.

“There is no evidence that winter feeding would help fed species to displace others,” Lehikoinen concludes.

It is also unclear to what extent the results of the studies conducted in Great Britain can be applied to Finland.

Despite the doubts, a winter feeding place can be established if desired, Lehikoinen and Hohtola say.

“However, it is worth realizing that it is a lot about one’s own joy and not always a service to nature,” says Hohtola.


Source: Tiede by www.tiede.fi.

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