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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Provision of feathers as nest materials is superfluous for naturally breeding passerine species

Published source details

Hansell M. & Ruxton G.D. (2002) An Experimental Study of the Availability of Feathers for Avian Nest Building. Journal of Avian Biology, 33, 319-321


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Provide nesting material for wild birds Bird Conservation

A replicated study from March-July in 1995-1997 in a mixed woodland area containing 20 experimental plots near Glasgow, Scotland (Hansell & Ruxton 2002) found that songbird species used supplementary feathers at very low rates and that nest construction is not resource limited. The mean feather loss per week from experimental plots was 14.4% and only in one week (mid-May) of the study did it rise above 40%. The proportion of marked feathers recovered from nests was 2.8%. A total of 41 nests (from 10 different songbird species) were found. Plots contained 50 marked (unique 2 mm diameter waterproof paint spot/site) feathers (30-50 mm contour feathers from wood pigeons Columba palumbus) placed directly on the ground each week.