Meeting Abstract

125.1  Monday, Jan. 7  Physiological and ecological impacts of bird feeding activities. WILCOXEN, TE*; HORN, DJ; FLAMM, JC; GUERRA, DF; HOGAN, BM; HUBBLE, CN; HUBER, SJ; KNOTT, MH; SALIK, F; WASSENHOVE, SJ; Millikin University; Millikin University; Millikin University; Millikin University; Millikin University; Millikin University; Millikin University; Millikin University; Millikin University; Millikin University twilcoxen@millikin.edu

Bird feeding is a popular hobby for many Americans, with more than 55 million individuals participating in feeding annually. Though bird feeding remains a largely unregulated practice, the true value of commercial bird seed to the health of free-living birds remains unknown, although some studies have indirectly examined the influence of feeding on avian populations. Over an 18-month period, we completed a comprehensive study examining community dynamics, body condition, nutritional condition and measures of immune, reproductive, and stress physiology in twelve songbird species before, during, and after addition of bird feeders at feeder naïve sites. Comparisons were made to similar sites without feeders that were monitored simultaneously to address potential seasonal changes independent of the presence of supplemental food. Our results demonstrate that bird feeding greatly influences community dynamics and the general health state of birds, however, not all influences are positive