Student Research Results - Feeding

 

Backyard bird feeding at urban bird feeding stations is a common practice in Australia. The focus of this research was to identify which bird species are utilising these stations and at what frequencies. In order to identify the importance of this food to birds, the frequency of aggression between and among species was also considered.

During the winter and autumn this year research was conducted into the types of species attending these urban bird feeding stations. Chanaka used past backyard bird survey results and also visited a number of gardens that fed birds throughout Melbourne to observe the birds and their behaviours. It was revealed that Common Mynas and Spotted Doves attended in the highest frequencies at feeding stations. The species complement that arrived at the stations seemed to be determined by the food type present, with different species arriving at stations which presented bread to stations which supplemented seed. It seemed that these resources were not heavily competed for as the frequency of aggression was low. On average less than three aggressive interactions were recorded both between and within species over an hour long observation at a feeding station.

On a positive note it seemed that when native species did arrive, they were able to monopolise the food resources. This suggests that the low frequency of natives attending the stations observed was due to the native species preferentially consuming other natural foods over the supplementary food. 

The figure below shows the average amount of time that different species spent feeding during each feeding session. You can see that Crimson Rosellas, Noisy Miners and Little Correllas would spend the longest amount of time feeding during each session whilst the introduced birds (despite being the most common birds at feeding stations) were amongst the birds that spent the shortest time feeding.

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