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    Leaving food on the table for birds could cause more harm than good

    NewsEnvironment & Nature NewsMonday 08 July 2013
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    A new study has found that leaving food in the garden for birds in the winter could be killing off certain breeds.
     
    Researchers tested leaving out crumbs of bread and fat balls for blue tits actually resulted in less breeding success when spring came around.
     
    The logic behind the findings is that food left out may help weaker gbirds to be able to survive and breed but as a result they produce a small number of relatively weak chicks.
     
    The chicks that came about as a result for the study weighed less and had lower survival rates.
     
    If you have a pattern of less successful breeding then this leads to populations of some species shrinking and then dying out due to the weakest being able to survive and further mating. It would lower the overall strength of the species.
     
    While you may guess the answer is to not feed them, the researchers put forward the suggestion of feeding them all year round and not just winter.
     
    Dr Kate Plummer who worked on the study said that; "There could be a number of different explanations for our results.
    "One possibility is that winter feeding may help birds in relatively poor condition to survive and breed.
    "Because these individuals are only capable of raising a small number of chicks, they will reduce our estimation of breeding success within the population."
     
     
    The study was carried out over 3 years in woodland. It is estimated that British households buy around 60,000 tonnes of bird food each and every year. 
     
    Photo: Geograph
     
    Source: Telegraph
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