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Survey of Birds and the Feeding Observations By: Rachel Jacobs and Laura Yost Hypothesis/Purpose Birds have food preferences Commonalities among people feeding birds Explain different types of feed and feeders Survey How often to you feed birds? How long have you been feeding birds?

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survey of birds and the feeding observations

Survey of Birds and the Feeding Observations

By: Rachel Jacobs and Laura Yost

hypothesis purpose
  • Birds have food preferences
  • Commonalities among people feeding birds
  • Explain different types of feed and feeders
  • How often to you feed birds?
  • How long have you been feeding birds?
  • What do you feed them (brands/types)?
  • What kinds of birds do you want to attract?
  • What types of birds do you see most often?
How many different species of birds do you see at the feeder?
  • Does anything other birds eat the food?
  • Do you use conventional feeding methods? (feeders/scraps) If both which brings more diversity?
  • Any unique, funny, interesting stories you want to share when feeding/observing?
  • 11 fed everyday, 9 refilled when empty, the remaining fed either weekly, seasonally monthly or whenever they had scraps.
  • 18 have been feeding for greater than 10years, only a few starting recently
  • Only brand mentioned was Agway, others were generic brands, a variety of mixed seeds, bread or scraps
  • Specific types used: suet cake, sugar/water mixture
  • Most had no preference as to what birds they were trying to attract
  • Types of birds seen were pigeons, house finches, blackbirds, and chickadees
  • 4 most popular seen were robins, cardinals, blue jays, and sparrows
  • Most reported (17) seeing > 6 species at feeders, several < 6 and a few never counted or couldn’t identify
  • 28 reported having squirrels and/or chipmunks eating the feed, some said raccoons, dogs and cats
  • Most used feeders and scraps, all of which said that feeders brought more diversity
  • Stories: mating, fighting, broken antique sink as a feeder and watching other animals eating the food
feeding tips
Feeding Tips
  • New types of food
    • Birds wary
    • Familiar place
  • Seed in bulk
    • Cool, dry
    • Mold
  • No chocolate
    • Theobromine
types of feed
Types of Feed
  • Seeds
    • Many varieties and mixtures
    • Black oil Sunflower seed
      • Most common
      • A lot of fat
      • Small birds
    • Niger Seed
      • Grains of rice
      • Goldfinches
types of feed11
Types of Feed
  • Suet
    • Insect eating birds
    • Beef kidney fat
    • Processed cake
      • Seeds and berries
    • Nuthatches and Woodpeckers
types of feed12
Types of Feed
  • Nectar
    • Hummingbirds and Orioles
    • Sugar water
    • Food coloring
      • Toxic
    • Red Portals
    • Red Ribbon
    • Keep clean
      • Bacteria
      • Mold
types of feed13
Types of Feed
  • Grit
    • Many types of birds
    • Gizzard
      • Sand
      • Pebbles
      • Broken Eggshells
    • Dry asphalt or Wood ashes
      • Minerals
types of feed14
Types of Feed
  • Water
    • Drinking
    • Bathing
    • Dripping
      • Very appealing
    • Location
      • Close to ground
  • Three main types
    • Tray (platform) feeders
    • Hopper feeders
    • Tube feeders
  • Three specialty types
    • Suet feeders
    • Hummingbird feeders
    • Peanut feeders
  • Tray Feeder
    • Raised surface
      • Spread out food
    • Disadvantage
      • No protection
    • Without roof = wet food
    • Species
      • Cardinal
      • Juncos
      • Doves
      • Sparrows
  • Hopper Feeder
    • Tray feeder with roof and walls
      • Seeds spill out of bottom
    • Hold food
      • Several Days
      • Continuous supply
    • Disadvantage
      • Becomes wet and moldy
    • Species
      • Large variety
        • Chickadees up to Blue Jays
  • Hollow Cylinders
    • Many feeding ports
      • Perches underneath
    • Keep away mammals
    • Not accessible to large birds
      • Perch too small
    • Speices
      • Finches
      • If large enough perch – grackles and jays
  • Suet Feeders
    • Wire mesh cage or bag
    • Only open at bottom
    • Species
      • Nuthatches
      • Woodpeckers
      • Chickadees
    • Cling to cage or bag upside down
  • Hummingbird Feeder
    • Bottle or tube
      • Small holes
    • Hold liquid
      • Narrow openings
    • Species
      • Hummingbirds
  • Peanut Feeder
    • Wire mesh cage
    • Cylidrical
    • Species
      • Jays
      • Nuthatches
      • Woodpeckers
  • Placement of Feeder
    • Natural area
      • Trees or Shrubs
        • Sit and wait
    • Not too close
      • Other mammals
      • Scare birds away
    • Quiet and visible area
  • Unwanted Visitors
    • Squirrels
      • Most common
      • Distract with other food
      • Attach cone or tent to block
      • Damage feeder
    • Raccoons, Deer, Moose
      • Build fence
      • Remove feeder
        • Few days
  • Must be kept clean
    • Mold and Bird droppings
      • Birds become ill
    • Clean when refilling
      • Harmful substances
    • Mild bleach solution
      • Air dry
fun feeding
Fun Feeding
  • Popped corn
  • Raisins
  • Fruit
    • Fruit seeds
  • Pine cones
  • Peanut hearts
  • What affects birds eating habits??
  • G.M. Tucker: agriculture, increased manure use, aerated soil, therefore increasing earthworms and ultimately increasing bird densities.
  • Choose particular area to forage, posibly for camouflage and decreased competition, i.e blackbirds (Turdus merula) in small fields with tall hedgerow
  • Feinsinger & Colwell; Wolf and Chown: nectar feeding birds form assemblages based in availability of resources and take roles in foraging
  • Feeding is very important to hummingbirds because of the high metabolic requirements
  • More diversity of food resources has increased bird diversity
  • T. E. Martin: reproductive effects having specific costs to parents and the young
  • Morton: Food intake depends not only on availability and diversity of birds in the area but on temperature and the time of day
  • Stiles: frugivores prevalent in Eastern deciduous forests, not necessarily strictly frugivores, some feed insects to young
  • Nutrients in fruits are carbs, proteins and lipids
  • Willson and Comet: Color preferences in berries exhibited in crows. Preferred fruits with high glucose and lipid concentrations, more pronounced in adults.
  • Order of preference R>B>Y>G
  • Willson also looked at robins and found findings consistent with the previous study on crows.
  • Main finding was that frugivores may have a search image for fruits
  • Project Feeder Watch “About Birds and Bird Feeding” <> 29 April 2006.
  • “Feeding Wild Birds” <> 29 April 2006.
  • Hinterland Who’s Who. “Bird Feeding.” <> 29 April 2006.
  • Tucker G. M. (1992). Effects of agricultural practices on field use by invertebrate-feeding birds in winter. Journal of Applied Ecology. 29, 779-790.
  • Feinsinger P. & R. K. Colwell. (1978). Community organization among neotropical nectar-feeding birds. American Zoologist. 18, 779-795.
  • Wolf L. L., F.R. Hainsworth, & F. B. Gill. (1975). Foraging efficiencies and time budgets in nectar-feeding birds. Ecology. 56, 117-128.
  • Chown S. L., N. J. M. Gremmen & K. J. Gaston. (1998). Ecological biogeography of couthern ocean islands: species area relationships, human impacts, and conservation. The American Naturalist. 152, 562-575.
  • Martin T. E. (1987). Food as a limit on breeding birds: a life history perspective. Annual Review of Ecological Systems. 18, 453-487.
  • Stiles E. W. (1980). Patterns of fruit presentation and seed dispersal in bird-desseminated woody plants in the estern deciduous forest. The American Naturalist. 116, 670-688.
  • Morton M. L. (1967). Diurnal feeding patterns in white0crowned sparrows, zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii. The condor. 69, 491-512.
  • Levey D. J, T. C. Moermond, & J. S. Denslow. (1984). Fruit choices in neotropical birds: the effect of distance between fruits on preference patterns. Ecology, 65. 844-850.
  • Willson M. F. & T. A. Comet.(1993).Food choices by northwestern crows: experiments with captive, free-ranging and hand-raised birds. The Condor. 95, 596-615.
  • Willson M. F. (1994). Fruit choices by captive American robins. The condor. 96, 494-502.