Study

Does food supplementation really enhance productivity of breeding birds?

  • Published source details Harrison T.J.E., Smith J.A., Martin G.R. & Chamberlain D.E. (2010) Does food supplementation really enhance productivity of breeding birds?. Oecologia, 164, 311-320.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Provide supplementary food for songbirds to increase reproductive success

Action Link
Bird Conservation
  1. Provide supplementary food for songbirds to increase reproductive success

    A replicated, controlled study over 3 breeding seasons in 2006-2008 in 3 treatment blocks (2 experimental and 1 control; 96 nestboxes/block) of broadleaf, deciduous woodland in Worcestershire, UK (Harrison et al. 2010), found that blue tits Parus caeruleus (also known as Cyanistus caeruleus) and great tits Parus major began laying significantly earlier (by averages of two and three days respectively), had reduced clutch size (mean reduction: 0.4 and 0.7 eggs), shortened incubation periods (mean reduction: 0.9 and 0.7 days), lowered hatching success (in blue tits only: mean reduction: 1.4%) and reduced brood size (mean reduction: 0.6 and 0.5 chicks for blue and great tits respectively). Treatment blocks were separated by a 90 m buffer strip. In each year, one treatment block received no supplementary food and two treatment blocks received peanut cake (comprising 50% ground peanuts and 50% beef tallow). Treatments were rotated amongst plots.

     

Output references
What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 19

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.


Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape Programme Red List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Bern wood Supporting Conservation Leaders National Biodiversity Network Sustainability Dashboard Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx British trust for ornithology Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Butterfly Conservation People trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust