Nests near bird feeders may be more prone to predation
24th March 2017
Researchers from the University of Reading found that artificial open-cup nests (akin to Blackbirds' nests) provisioned with quail eggs during the breeding season were five times more likely to be raided by predators if there were filled bird feeders within 10m of the nest. Only 10% of the nests near filled feeders survived, compared with just under 50% of those near empty feeders.
This, the study concluded, is because predators are also attracted to the food, and then explore nearby vegetation, where nests are located. However, the survey conclusions emphasised that feeding birds should still be encouraged, as long as people are mindful of the potential consequences.
The survey did not investigate any impact on hole nesting species, nor if there is less predation if nesting habitat quality is improved. It is also possible that real birds are better at concealing real nests.
You can read the original paper in the journal IBIS here