Wild bird feeding delays start of dawn singing in the great tit

Saggese, Katja and Korner-Nievergelt, Fraenzi and Slagsvold, Tore and Amrhein, Valentin. (2011) Wild bird feeding delays start of dawn singing in the great tit. Animal behaviour, Vol. 81, H. 2. pp. 361-365.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A5848747

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Supplementary feeding of wild birds during winter is one of the most popular wildlife management activities, and is likely to have profound influence on the behavioural ecology of a species. At garden bird feeders, birds are now often fed well into the breeding season. Providing food within an established songbird territory, however, is likely to influence the territorial behaviour of the resident male. We used song performance during the dawn chorus in early spring to study behavioural changes in food-supplemented great tits, Parus major. After 2 weeks of continuous food supply within their territory, supplemented males started dawn singing later than control males, and thus postponed their regular dawn chorus before sunrise. This effect was maintained 2 weeks after food supplementation had ended. However, we did not find an effect of long-term feeding on song output. Our results were largely unexpected because formal models and field studies on short-term food supplementation suggested an earlier start of dawn singing or a higher dawn song output. Because we did not observe great tits visiting the feeders before sunrise or food supplementation increasing the numbers of conspecific intruders, the reasons for the delay in the start of dawn singing remain unclear; possible explanations include the presence of predators at feeding stations and the quality of the supplementary food itself. Delaying dawn singing could potentially affect the reproductive success of supplemented males, for example if females base extrapair mating decisions on dawn song performance of their mates. (C) 2010 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Integrative Biologie > Behavioural Ecology (Amrhein)
UniBasel Contributors:Amrhein, Valentin
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Academic Press
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:08 Nov 2012 16:22
Deposited On:08 Nov 2012 16:13

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