Study

Supplementary feeding appears to increase recruitment in pied flycatchers Ficedula hypoleuca in woodlands in the Netherlands

  • Published source details Verhulst S. (1994) Supplementary food in the nestling phase affects reproductive success in pied flycatchers (Ficedula hypoleuca). The Auk, 111, 714-716

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 study in a mixed forest in the central Netherlands in 1987 (Verhulst 1994) found that female pied flycatchera Ficedula hypoleuca from pairs provided with supplementary food had significantly higher survival rates than those from control pairs (survival in subsequent years of 58% for fed females, n = 12 vs. 27% for controls, n = 60). There was no difference in male survival (survival in subsequent years of 55% for fed males, n = 11 vs. 33% for controls, n = 51) or in adult weights when chicks were seven days old (average of 12.1 g for fed males, n = 11 vs. 12.2 g for control males, n = 13; 12.5 g for fed females, n = 12 vs. 12.5 g for controls, n = 14). Supplementary food consisted of mealworms provided in excess beginning two days after chicks hatched. This study also examines the impact of feeding on reproductive success, discussed in ‘Provide supplementary food to increase reproductive success’.

     

  2. Provide supplementary food for songbirds to increase reproductive success

    A replicated, controlled and paired study in a mixed forest in the central Netherlands in 1987 (Verhulst 1994) found that pied flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca chicks from pairs provided with supplementary food were significantly more likely to be recruited into the local breeding population than chicks from control (unfed) pairs (7.9% of nestlings from 12 fed clutches recaptured as breeding adults vs. 1.1% from 15 controls). However, fed pairs did not start laying earlier, produce larger clutches, hatch more young, hatch young earlier than control pairs (13 fed pairs started laying on May 18th, average of 6.3 eggs/clutch, 5.5 chicks/clutch and a hatching date of June 6th vs. May 19th, 6.2 eggs/clutch, hatching 5.4 chicks/clutch and June 6th for 16 controls), probably due to the paired nature of the study. In addition, there were no differences between treatments in terms of nestling growth, survival, tarsus length or weight (5.5 chicks/clutch fledging, average weight of 13.9 g, average tarsus length of 17.4 cm for 12 fed pairs vs. 5.5 chicks/clutch fledging, average weight of 13.8 g, average tarsus length of 17.2 cm for 15 controls). Supplementary food consisted of mealworms provided in excess beginning two days after chicks hatched. This study also examines the impact of feeding on adult survival, discussed in ‘Provide supplementary food to increase adult survival’.

     

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