The use of birdfeeders in gardens has dramatically increased the diversity of the birds living in Britain’s urban areas, a new study has found. The British Trust for Ornithology said that at least half of home-owners feed garden birds – a trend that started to take off in the 1970s – and this now supports an estimated 196 million birds a year, and more than half of the country’s species. While many common birds such as blackbirds and robins have maintained a steady presence at feeders, sightings of others, including great spotted woodpeckers, sparrowhawks and wood pigeons, have dramatically increased. Goldfinches were spotted at just 8% of feeders in 1972, but at 87% of them by 2012.
Relevance? Well, it is a little thing, but caring for other living creatures is surely Epicurean, rewarding for the giver , who has the joy of seeing a greater variety of visitors visiting his or her garden, and good for the planet , which is losing its natural diversity. I wish we did a better job at feeding and protecting the elephant and the pangolin, to name but two species at risk from humans.