Caterpillars and caterpillar-eating birds: out of synch in space and time?
The increasing temperatures associated with a changing climate may disrupt ecological systems, including by affecting the timing of key events. If events within different trophic levels are affected in different ways then this can lead to what is known as trophic mismatch. But what is the evidence for trophic mismatch, and are there spatial or temporal patterns within the UK that might point to mismatch as a driver of regional declines in key insect-eating birds?
What makes a good host for a parasitic Cuckoo?
The Cuckoo is a generalist avian brood parasite, known to have utilized at least 125 different bird species as a host within Europe. Despite this, individual female Cuckoos are thought to be host-specific, preferentially laying their eggs in one – or a few – host nests. This raises the question of what makes a good host.
Estimating mortality of birds caught for ringing with mist nets
The benefit of the information accrued when capturing wild animals for study needs to outweigh the potential risk to individuals that are caught. New BTO research, just published, assesses the potential effects of capturing wild birds.
Shaping positive engagements with urban birds
There is growing evidence that interactions with birds in our towns and cities can provide people with feelings of being connected with nature; such interactions can also have positive effects of human well-being. Within the field of ecosystem services such forms of benefit are known as ‘cultural services’. However, not all interactions between people and birds are necessarily positive. Birds are sometimes responsible for disease transmission, for the contamination of water sources, for aggression, damage to property and for causing unwelcome noise and smells. These interactions are known as ‘disservices’.
The health hazards to wild birds associated with garden feeding.
The provision of supplementary food for wild birds at garden feeding stations is a widespread practice in the UK. These additional resources have been shown, through research, to be of benefit to wild birds, but there is still a great deal that we do not know about the wider implications of such provisioning. Wherever individual birds congregate, the risk of disease transmission is increased, and the high densities of birds often seen at garden feeding stations might contribute to the emergence and spread of infectious diseases.