Winter feedings enhance breeding in birds

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Washington, Feb 6 : It is well known that garden feeding helps birds to survive in winter. In addition to that, a new study has revealed that birds fed in winter also have a successful breeding season in the spring.

The study by University of Exeter and Queen's University Belfast has revealed that birds fed with extra food in winters laid eggs earlier and raised their fledglings successfully.

Dr Stuart Bearhop of the University of Exeter, corresponding author on the paper said research shows how the extra food provided in winter helps the birds that take it.

"Our study shows that birds that receive extra food over winter lay their eggs earlier and produce more fledglings," he said.

He said that the extra food contains fat, protein and carbohydrates, which may make the female bird stronger and more able to produce eggs and foods like peanuts and bird seed also include vitamins and minerals, which can also produce healthier eggs and chicks

"While this research shows how the extra food we provide in winter helps the birds that take it, it is still unclear whether this has a knock-on effect on other species.

"This is something we are keen to investigate, but in the meantime I will certainly be putting out food for garden birds for the rest of the winter," he added.

Dr Dan Chamberlain of the British Trust for Ornithology, a collaborator on the project said that feeding birds winters are vital to their breeding success.

"It is highly likely that the benefits of extra food continue year-round, so don't just stock your bird feeders in winter if you want to do the best for the birds in your garden," he said.

The findings appear in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters.

ANI

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