As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Human activity turning birds into pests




HYDERABAD, AUGUST 26, 2018 22:35 IST
UPDATED: AUGUST 27, 2018 12:50 IST

Researchers find four species of birds, considered depredatory, feeding on sorghum and sunflower
Human activity is increasingly tipping the ecological balance against birds, turning them to pests, suggests recently-published observations by a group of researchers.
Researchers from Prof. Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University observed unusual feeding of four species of birds on sorghum and sunflower when testing acoustic equipment to keep birds away.
“Unusual instance of Red-breasted Parakeet in Hyderabad feeding on sorghum was observed. Similarly, unusual instances of Great Tits, Indian Peafowl and Large Grey Babbler were observed to feed on sunflower heads,” said researchers in an article published in the journal of Entomology, Ornithology and Herpetology.
They explained it was unusual because these four species are not on the list of 18 species, considered depredatory, known to feed on sorghum or sunflower.
“These birds feeding on sunflower and sorghum indicate that their natural sources of food are not easily available. Parakeets, for instance, are fruit-eaters. Without fruit trees around, they are bound to turn to crop,” said V. Vasudeva Rao, who heads a project on vertebrate pest management at the agricultural university.
Dr. Rao and his team made the observations between 2013 and 2015 at five locations, including three in Hyderabad.
“Birds like Peafowls and Babblers prefer sunflower seeds as a major diet and food source expansion. This is mainly due to unsustainable levels of exploitation, non-availability of preferred food, habitat destruction and less predatory pressure, increasing new depredatory bird population and diminishing dependency on alternative food resources,” the researchers concluded.

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