Assessing the relationship between garden bird feeding patterns and weather in Vancouver, Canada

Authors

  • Joshua Bugis

Abstract

A recent increase in garden bird feeding by the public has provided birds with a novel
food source, impacting ecosystem interactions, ecological niches, and migration of facultative
migratory birds. The larger implications of garden bird feeding are not well understood and
require further research. This study assesses the relationship between weather and feeding
patterns in Vancouver, Canada in order to determine the optimal environmental conditions for
studying garden birds in the future. Artificial nectar and seed feeders located in an urban setting
were observed for 15 minutes (n=22) in the morning (09:00-11:00) and afternoon (15:00-17:00).
Total feeding time and the number of feeding events were recorded, along with data on
environmental temperature, wind speed, and brightness. A one-tailed paired t-test revealed a
significant difference in nectar and seed feeding times (p=0.002) so data from the two feeders
were analyzed separately. A second one-tailed paired t-test revealed insignificant differences
between morning and afternoon total seed feeding time (p=0.27), number of seed feeding events
(p=0.10), total nectar feeding time (p=0.38), and number of nectar feeding events (p=0.43), so
the AM and PM data were combined, plotted, and a regression model was developed. While
brightness did not impact feeding patterns, linear regressions showed an inverse relationship
between wind and total feeding time or number of feeding events for both seed- and nectarfeeders.
A 2nd order polynomial regression showed minimum nectar feeding occurs at 10ºC,
while seed-feeding is unaffected by temperature. The study concludes that future analyses on
garden birds should occur in less windy weather, below 7ºC or above 12ºC for maximal
observations.

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Published

2021-07-22

Issue

Section

Articles