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What different types of food birds eat

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What different types of food birds eat

Postby esterdude » Thu Jul 28, 2011 7:38 am

Hiya there

I'm doing an investigation into if the time of day affects how many birds would turn up to eat. In writing an evaluation of my investigation, I pointed out that I used the same type of food for every test, but while researching into how this might make my investigation more reliable, I could only find the different types of food that the birds eat, and not if it would affect their numbers. What do you think, would the type of food I put out for birds (house sparrows) affect how many come to eat? Also, is it possible to cite a reliable source in your answer by any chance?

Thanks a lot!
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Re: What different types of food birds eat

Postby James » Thu Jul 28, 2011 2:55 pm

The food type would influence bird abundance, especially if your'e talking about a long term study. As would the nature of food presentation, ie spread of food and use of different feeding techniques. Did your investigation focus on one taxon of birds or did it record all birds?
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Re: What different types of food birds eat

Postby esterdude » Thu Jul 28, 2011 8:33 pm

As would the nature of food presentation, ie spread of food and use of different feeding techniques.


I'm using plain white bread for this investigation (I don't have much money for anything better...). I am feeding the birds by placing the pieces of bread (each piece is the same size ~2.5cm^2) roughly the same distance from each other in the same area every time, then going back inside my house and ensuring minimal disturbance (to my ability) by closing the curtains etc. But I have a camera placed in a way that is not detectable by the birds to record their numbers. So, as you can see, I am doing my best to keep the results consistent by controlling the variables.

Did your investigation focus on one taxon of birds or did it record all birds?


I am only reporting on house sparrow numbers in my final report, but I am taking note of the other birds species and their numbers for good measure, so that I might discuss them and how they might have impacted on the investigation (I have mynah birds coming in different numbers for each test, sometimes two or three, and sometimes more than ten, and occasionally, some silvereye also come, only one or two).

The food type would influence bird abundance, especially if your'e talking about a long term study.


Could you expand on this? Also, is it possible to cite a reliable source for this? I can't just take your word for it, sadly. Oh, and this is not really a long term study; I am only doing this over three days (I have this report due in 5 days, completed, so I'm quite restrained by time).

Thanks for the reply! :D
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Postby James » Fri Jul 29, 2011 11:13 am

I can't find a scientific paper that discusses the influence of food type on attracting sparrows to a garden. Obviously most studies work a larger spatial scale and are more general, eg effect of bird feeding on urban sparrow populations. Sparrows have a very varied diet and apparently 'research in the 1940 found 838 different types of food in the dissected stomachs of house sparrows.' Source: http://www.garden-birds.co.uk/birds/housesparrow.htm . Perhaps there wouldn't be much of an impact as long as you are using a food that sparrows like. Do you really need to cite a source? In your discussion you can speculate that food type may influence bird numbers and state that this could be an opportunity for further study. As you used the same food type throughout your study, you don't need to go into much more detail than that do you?
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Re: What different types of food birds eat

Postby esterdude » Sat Jul 30, 2011 6:01 am

James wrote:I can't find a scientific paper that discusses the influence of food type on attracting sparrows to a garden. Obviously most studies work a larger spatial scale and are more general, eg effect of bird feeding on urban sparrow populations. Sparrows have a very varied diet and apparently 'research in the 1940 found 838 different types of food in the dissected stomachs of house sparrows.' Source: http://www.garden-birds.co.uk/birds/housesparrow.htm . Perhaps there wouldn't be much of an impact as long as you are using a food that sparrows like. Do you really need to cite a source? In your discussion you can speculate that food type may influence bird numbers and state that this could be an opportunity for further study. As you used the same food type throughout your study, you don't need to go into much more detail than that do you?


Fair enough, I can just talk about how keeping the type of food the same made sure that the type of food was not what controlled the amount of birds that came, because if I used different types of food, it may have varied the number of birds that came, due to the vast number of foods that they eat, and that I cannot be sure which type of food they prefer.

Obviously most studies work a larger spatial scale and are more general, eg effect of bird feeding on urban sparrow populations.

If it's like that, then I guess that it is unreasonable to look for a scholarly article to cite, and what you gave just might suffice.

Thanks for the help! :D
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