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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.
 

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