"Feeding wild birds in backyards was already known to be extremely popular in
many parts of the northern hemisphere and in Australia, despite being strongly
discouraged. But the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns led to a dramatic increase in
wild bird feeding around the world, our research published today shows. There
was a surge in interest beyond traditional bird-feeding countries in North
America, Europe and Australia: 115 countries in total, including many where
feeding was assumed not to occur.
Those opposed to feeding wild birds cite a plethora of reasons:
* the spread of diseases (well-documented in the US and UK)
* poor nutrition as a result of an unbalanced diet
* advantaging already abundant species
* changing community structure (birds that visit feeders prosper at the cost of
those that don’t)
* even altering migration patterns.
These impacts occur everywhere wild birds are fed and are potentially serious.
On the other hand, engaging with wild birds in this way is now recognised as
one of the most effective ways people can connect with nature. There is strong
evidence that spending time in natural settings is good for people’s wellbeing
and mental health. This becomes increasingly important as more and more of the
world’s people live in large cities.
These trends mean the simple, common practice of attracting birds to your
garden by feeding them is taking on much greater significance for the welfare
of both birds and people."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics