Take part in the bird feeding experiment featured on BBC Winterwatch


Go to the link above for the live link to email your results to. A good activity if it’s a wet weekend, and an opportunity to see the surprising bird diversity of OP. The recording sheet is also available via the link.




Hi, Thank you very much for taking part in this citizen-science experiment we appreciate you taking the time to help us with our research. The experiment should take less than 30 minutes per day for 3 days. Please note that the type of food you leave out depends on your surname – see below. All completed forms are to be emailed to: foraging-experiments@zoo.ox.ac.uk Thanks Damien Farine Background: Our previous research found that individual birds used a strategy where they collected information about the distribution of food resources in the morning. This also suggested that in the evening, a critical time of day to feed for avoiding overnight starvation, birds should return to the best resource they found that day. We are hoping to find out whether this is true by experimentally altering the quality of food at feeders in order to test whether birds avoid feeders in which they found poor food in the morning, and visit feeders where they found high quality food in the morning. Instructions: Day 1: Beginning between 3pm and 4pm, count the number of birds that land on your feeder(s) (by species if possible) for 3 minutes. Wait 7 minutes, repeat the count for another 3 minutes. Wait another 7 minutes, do a final 3 minute count. This will provide 3 counts. Each count should be the number of birds seen to land on the feeder having flown from vegetation (if by species, including unidentified species). After dark, remove all available food, and replace this with either apples or cheese. Surnames A-L will first provide apples, M-Z first provide cheese. Replenish food during the following day where possible. Day 2: Perform the same 3 minute counts of the number of birds landing on the food. After dark, remove the apples or cheese, and replace with the other food type (Surnames A-L will put out cheese, M-Z will put out apples). Day 3: Perform the same 3 minute counts of the number of birds landing on the food. After dark, you can replace your normal food.


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