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Food subsidy?

Posted by jebyrnes on 26 Dec 2006 at 16:17 GMT

I am curious to what extent trends in exurban areas may have been driven by food subsidies. One only needs to drive through a typical suburb or exurb and look in the back yards of houses in developments to see a myriad of bird feeders and the like. True, addition of structure may also be important, but particularly in the case of exotic species, I wonder to what extent this may also be a causal factor.

RE: Food subsidy?

dhaskell replied to jebyrnes on 22 Apr 2009 at 15:14 GMT

We did not quantify food, but my qualitative sense is that bird feeders are not driving the patterns (there are not that many bird feeders out in our part of the world). However, fruits and insects from planted or weedy shrubs may be more of an issue. We're currently working on quantifying vegetation structure and insect abundance.

Also, note that this study examined exurban and rural areas, not suburbs -- the dynamics on each are possibly quite different.

Competing interests declared: I'm the author of the manuscript