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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: The effect of distance from vegetation cover on feeder usage by garden birds in the Cyncoed area of Cardiff, Glamorgan, Wales

Published source details

Cowie R.J. & Simons J.R. (1991) Factors affecting the use of feeders by garden birds: I. The positioning of feeders with respect to cover and housing. Bird Study, 38, 145-150


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Provide supplementary food for songbirds to increase adult survival Bird Conservation

Two studies in gardens in Cardiff, south Wales, in January-February 1988 and February-April 1989 (Cowie & Simons 1991) found that distance to both cover (a dense hedgerow) and housing had significant effects on rate of consumption of supplementary food by five songbird species. At a single site, as distance from cover increased, the proportion of food consumed decreased (32% consumed when the feeder was next to the hedge, 28% at 2.5 m away, 23% at 5 m and 17% at 7.5 m), with a greater impact on house sparrows Passer domesticus and blue tits Parus caeruleus than on greenfinches Carduelis chloris. Overall consumption increased with distance from housing in three other sites (34% of food consumed when three feeders were 10 m from housing, 25% at 7.5 m, 25% at 5 m, and 16% at 2.5 m), however this effect varied between species. Siskins C. spinus used all feeders equally; greenfinch use increased with distance from housing and house sparrows used feeders closest to the houses most frequently. Supplementary food consisted of 250 g of peanuts supplied each day.