Interesting Article by Telegraph about how the British obsession with feeding birds is making their beaks grow longer, scientists believe!
The British obsession for feeding birds is causing their beaks to grow longer so they can reach into bird feeders, scientists suspect. In an extraordinary example of rapid evolution, researchers have discovered that the UK tit has a beak up to 0.3mm longer than its European counterparts.
Although it sounds like a tiny difference, scientists believe even such a small advantage could aid survival, ensuring those with longer beaks live long enough to lay eggs, and pass on their genes.
Researchers at Oxford University have been studying the Wytham Woods great tit population in Oxfordshire for 70 years and recently spotted that British great tits’ beaks have been getting longer since the 1970s.
Scientists at Oxford also teamed up with researchers from Sheffield University, the University of East Anglia and Dutch experts to also examine whether genes have changed to allow for the longer beaks. They found significant differences in the DNA of British tits compared with those in the Netherlands.
Read More at Telegraph
Supplementary feeding in winter for farmland birds, involves farmers spreading grain close to or on existing areas of overwintered stubbles and wild bird seed mix.
It provides important food resources for farmland birds in late winter and early spring on arable and mixed farms, by supplementing crops of winter bird food when they have been depleted and before natural food sources become available in late spring.
If successful there will be seed-eating farmland birds using the feeding areas from December to April.
The bird feeding option is designed to complement other sources of seed food on the farm. The new option is straightforward to implement and does not require any additional land to be taken out of production. Farmers in ES agreements which already include extended over-winter stubbles or wild bird seed mixture can easily change their agreement to include an option for supplementary feeding.
Find out about funding, eligibility and requirements for the supplementary winter feeding for farmland birds option please visit www.gov.uk.
Learn what birds are in your garden, with this Birdsong for beginners.
learning what wild birds are more present around you is not only interesting and fun but may help to identify which birds you could aid with feeding and shelter. Check out this birdsong video on YouTube and learn who is singing in your garden.
The Dawn Chorus can be heard in gardens, streets and parks in the early hours from March, reaching a crescendo in May, and lasting until June.
Read more at YouTube.com
Interesting Article by TheGuardian about how light pollution maybe affecting wild birds.
Free-living songbirds show increased stress hormone levels when nesting under white street lights. But different light spectra may have different physiological effects as this study finds, suggesting that using street lights with specific colour spectra may mitigate effects of light pollution on wildlife.
A study published today in the journal Biology Letters reports that free-living urban songbirds have increased levels of the stress hormone, corticosterone, in their bloodstream when they nest under street lights. Higher corticosterone concentrations raises the likelihood that birds will prematurely abandon their nests, eggs and chicks. The study, which also investigated the effects of other colours of artificial lighting on wild birds, found that corticosterone levels decrease as nest distance increases from a lamppost with red lighting. This research suggests it may be possible to reduce the disturbing effects of night lighting on wildlife by using street lights with specific colour spectra.
Read more at TheGuardian