Wild Birds Prefer Semi-Detached Homes!
A year-long study into the behaviour of blue tits and great tits has revealed that the birds prefer gardens which are planted with trees and shrubs. Regardless of how much bird seed is displayed in a garden, it is the planting which will dictate how many of these birds will visit the property to feed.
Birds Prefer Connected Planting
The research was led by Dr Daniel Cox, an ecologist from the University of Exeter and was published in the journal Scientific Reports. The study demonstrated that the birds had a preference for suburban semi-detached houses with trees and shrubs in their gardens. Paved gardens, extensive lawns, terraced house and properties separated by roads were less popular.
Monitoring the Birds
The scientists attached tags to the birds that they studied. These featured unique electronic numbers which enabled the researchers to monitor the movements of each bird. 452 specimens were studied. The researchers also attached scanners to . These were spread across the gardens of urban terraced homes, a green suburban neighbourhood and a new-build estate.
Improving Urban Planning
The birds were much more keen to fly between the gardens in green neighbourhoods and visited the feeders there more often. An understanding of bird behaviour will enable residents to plant their gardens more effectively and for urban planners to create developments which are better places to live.
Research has shown that watching garden birds helps those who live in cities to connect more effectively with nature and helps reduce their levels of stress. Effective planting could help people as much as the birds!
How to Improve Your Garden
The trees and shrubs provide the birds with safe routes between gardens. This means that bird lovers who want to see blue tits and great tits should plant trees and shrubs along their boundaries. Better still, they should plan their planting in conjunction with their neighbours to create an appealing habitat for the birds featuring connected planting.
This was the first study of its kind to be conducted on such a large scale and to track the individual movements of songbirds. Scientific research could help wild birds to thrive and enable people to make the most of their urban gardens.