Date: September 5, 2018
Source: University of Exeter
The pecking order of garden birds is determined by their size and weight, new research shows.
In a study at bird feeders, researchers from the University of Exeter and the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) found larger species like house sparrows and greenfinches monopolised the best food and spent longer feeding than smaller birds.
Meanwhile, smaller birds such as blue tits and coal tits had to feed quickly and were left with lower-quality food.
The researchers say the findings have "important implications" for using bird feeders as a conservation method.
"Bird feeding has become increasingly popular in the UK and throughout much of the world in recent decades," said senior author Professor Jon Blount, of the Centre for Ecology and
Conservation on the University of Exeter's Penryn Campus in Cornwall.
"However, its impacts are still poorly understood. "Bird feeders create a concentrated food source which can result in more quarrels between individuals of different species, which we predicted would lead to the formation of a dominance hierarchy.