What makes bird feeders attractive to birds? : implications for wild bird feeder design

Rothery, Luke

Biological sciences
September 2015

Thesis or dissertation


Rights
© 2015 Luke Rothery. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.
Abstract

With ever increasing levels of habitat destruction and degradation across the globe, many avian populations are being displaced from their historic environments and home ranges towards towns and cities in the search for food and/or shelter. One way to support and sustain the displaced populations would be to use the bird feeding industry with its large global footprint; using supplementary feeders in order to increase the level of food resource readily available in an environment. The use of bird feeders in both urban and semi urban gardens, parks and green spaces is becoming increasingly important in order to provide sufficient nutrients to sustain populations, given the constant increase in environmental stress.

One way to achieve the increased transfer of nutrients to avian populations would be to make supplementary feeders more attractive to birds. This will benefit birds by providing a more attractive reliable food source during winter, benefit people by attracting more birds to parks and gardens and benefit the industry by allowing for the focus marketability of feeders most preferred by specific species.

Currently no work has been done on the colour preference for feeders in temperate granivorous or omnivorous species, with the majority of previous work done on tropical frugivorous or nectivorous species.

This investigation examines two main variables relating to bird feeders: feeder colour and the perch design, in order to investigate if these two factors have any effect on visitation rate both on a population level and within individual species. Birds demonstrated a preference for silver coloured feeders and for feeders with long (80mm) perches. Results examining both avian and human preference suggests a green feeder with a long perch may offer the most marketable combination for industry. There was no recorded effect of UV preference on the selection of bird feeder.

Publisher
School of Biological, Biomedical and Environmental Sciences, The University of Hull
Supervisor
Morrell, Lesley J.; Scott, Graham (Graham W.)
Sponsor (Organisation)
Westland Horticulture Ltd.
Qualification level
Masters
Qualification name
MSc
Language
English
Extent
5 MB
Identifier
hull:14367
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