Trend for exotic plants means birds are struggling to find nests in city parks, study reveals
Original story at Mail Online• 2 mentions • 10 months ago
Mail Online 10 months ago
Blue tits and great tits are struggling to breed in city parks planted with exotic trees and shrubs, research reveals.The birds are less able to rear chicks in 'man-made' areas filled with non-native trees and shrubs than in natural landscapes like woodlands and hedgerows, the research shows.The study by Anglia Ruskin University and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology monitored breeding success of blue and great tits in nest boxes in the Botanic Gardens in Cambridge, and compared it with those in nest boxes in more traditional woodland and hedgerow habitats.Struggling to survive: The left image shows an 11-day old great tit chick from a nest in the Cambridge University Botanic Garden. The right image is of a chick of the same age, but raised at rural Wicken Fen, CambridgeshireVery few great tits raise chicks to fledging in the Cambridge University Botanic Gardens and the young that do survive are often underweight, according to the research which recorded clutch size, chick weights and fledgling success.The researchers also monitored the energy expended by breeding adults, and found they had lower breeding success despite working harder than their country cousins. The larger physical gaps between trees in parks compared to woodlands and the exotic plants and trees which do not support as much of the insect food the birds eat and need to feed their chicks adversely affected breeding success.