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Who feed the wildlife - and why? (series)
The irresistable attraction of the urban duck pond

Associate Professor Darryl Jones and his team of researchers have uncovered some remarkable facts about an activity that occurs throughout the world – duck feeding.
Backyard bird feeding: a national pastime

Positive feedback from backyard bird feeding: Throughout North America, Europe and England, in general, more than half the residents spend money on feeding birds. In Australia, however, the practice is frowned upon, with one argument being that you should not feed if you care about the environment. Despite this, some 40 to 70% of Australians still engage in backyard bird feeding - a proportion of the population very similar to that overseas. In Great Britain people feed birds to assist in their conservation, a practice that bird and conservation groups actively promote. Darryl Jones sees such feeding as overwhelmingly positive. It brings the birds closer to humans, especially in urban environments, allowing a sharing of the environment and human/bird interaction. Those people opposed to such practices need to realise that the millions of Australians who feed birds are allies of their conservation and are feeding them for the right reasons. Backyard bird feeding may well be their only chance to see any sort of creatures up close where they live. It is a practice that should be encouraged.
Feeding wildlife - more than just a national pastime

Feeding wildlife comes naturally: Renee Chapman, a doctoral research student with Professor Darryl Jones, outlines her recent research into the motivations and attitudes behind wildlife feeding, comparing Australia and the UK for the first time.
Backyard bird feeding: a natural attraction?

Professor Darryl Jones, urban ecologist from Griffith University, has written a book with the working title The Birds at My Table, a result of lots of research into the practice of backyard bird feeding. The book will be the first to look at bird feeding from a global perspective. As an urban ecologist Professor Jones is interested in the relationships between animals and people (how they interact), especially in cities. His interest in bird feeding began 18 years ago when one of his students was studying magpies in the suburbs and noticed that every second magpie was being fed by someone. This seemed unusual given that all Australian bird and conservation groups said backyard bird feeding should not be done. Subsequent social surveys which included a question about feeding showed a participation rate of 35-50% in urban areas, a similar rate to those in America and Europe (especially Great Britain) where this kind of bird feeding is actually promoted. The book takes an international view on the issues involved in feeding birds using the worldwide data that exist.
Feeding wild birds: when did it start?

Professor Darryl Jones, urban ecologist from the Griffith School of Environment at Griffith University in Brisbane, outlines some of the content of a soon-to-be-published book, The Birds at my Table. Cornell University Press in the United States will be publishing the book early in next year and distributing it worldwide. The University is renowned for running the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology so the book is in good hands.
The mything link

There are many myths about bird feeding in Australia and Professor Darryl Jones soon to be published book, The Birds at my Table, incorporates ones that will stun readers around the world. One of these is that people shouldn’t feed lorikeets seeds because they have a brushed tongue which could be damaged. Darryl has witnessed flocks of lorikeets feeding all day on sorghum seed and records show they eat all kind of seeds, so the myth does not hold up. Like other parrots, lorikeets feed on protein all the time, often in the form of insects and grubs but also as the meat of roadkill or farm animals that have died.
Bird feeding bible: The Birds at My Table

The Birds at my Table Professor Darryl Jones, urban ecologist from Griffith University, spreads the word on his soon to be published book The Birds at My Table. This is a popular science book that absolutely anyone can understand. Science is about doing the research and then telling people in the most effective way. This is a far cry from the currency of success in the university system in getting papers published in prestigious journals that hardly anybody reads. Subtitled Why we feed birds and why that matters the book is an exploration of everything you could possibly think of to do with feeding birds in backyards. Part of the motivation for writing the book was to counter the prevalent Australian attitude that such backyard bird feeding is the wrong thing to do. Given that about 4 million people in Australia actively buy food specifically to feed the birds in their backyards, this is obviously extremely popular. Bird feeding is a genuinely important and profound connection with something wild, an experience done on a daily basis. One person he interviewed said They (the birds) do ot need to come. They could decide not to visit but for some reason they are willing to come from their wild lives and visit me in my home.
A new kind of bookmaker

Professor Darryl Jones, urban ecologist from Griffith University, explores some of the background motivations and the eventual publishing machinations of his book The Birds at My Table. Right from the beginning Professor Jones had a strong motivation to write the book. He thought it was an important topic that needs to be discussed in great detail by everybody, not just scientists or academics. He also wanted to tell Australians what was really going on with bird feeding because it was a controversial issue. 
 

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