Study

The effect of supplemental food on body condition and the timing of reproduction in a cooperative breeder, the Florida scrub-jay

  • Published source details Schoech S.J (1996) The effect of supplemental food on body condition and the timing of reproduction in a cooperative breeder, the Florida scrub-jay. The Condor, 98, 234-244.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Provide supplementary food for songbirds to increase adult survival

Action Link
Bird Conservation

Provide supplementary food for songbirds to increase reproductive success

Action Link
Bird Conservation
  1. Provide supplementary food for songbirds to increase adult survival

    A replicated and controlled trial in a dune and scrubland system in Florida, USA, in 1993 (Schoech 1996), found that breeding Florida scrub jays Aphelocoma caerulescens from territories provided with supplementary food had significantly higher body lipid levels (i.e. were in better physical condition) than adults from control (unfed) territories (fed males approximately 6% body fat, n = 9 vs. 3% for controls, n = 18; fed females approximately 4.5%, n = 9 vs. 1.5% for controls, n = 17). There were no differences in non-breeding individuals. Feeding consisted of providing dried dog food, peanuts and mealworms were provided twice daily at feeding stations in the middle of the territories from late January until females finished laying. Food was provided ‘in excess’. This study also reported on the effects on reproduction, discussed in ‘Provide supplementary food to increase reproductive success’.

     

  2. Provide supplementary food for songbirds to increase reproductive success

    A replicated and controlled trial in a dune and scrubland system in Florida, USA, in 1993 (Schosch 1996), found that female Florida scrub jays Aphelocoma coerulescens in ten groups provided with supplementary food initiated clutches significantly earlier (on average 16 days earlier) than females from 32 control (unfed) groups. There was no significant difference in clutch sizes between treatments. Non-breeders from fed groups were no less likely to become breeders than those from control groups (fed groups: five of 23 non-breeders established territories; controls: four of 23). Feeding consisted of providing dried dog food, peanuts and mealworms were provided twice daily at feeding stations in the middle of the territories from late January until females finished laying. Food was provided ‘in excess’. This study also reported on the effects on adult condition, discussed in ‘Provide supplementary food to increase adult survival’.

     

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