5 May 2015

Feeding not helping native bird

12:18 pm on 5 May 2015

New Zealanders feed five million loaves of bread to birds a year, but new research suggests that generosity is bad news for a popular native.

Grey warbler

Feeding bread did the grey warbler no favours, the study found Photo: SUPPLIED / Josie Galbraith

The Auckland University study concluded that giving bread and seeds to birds disadvantages the native grey warbler, or riroriro.

Read more on the study here

More than 20 Auckland gardens were monitored over eighteen months and more than 30 species recorded.

Feeding helped to increase the numbers of sparrows and spotted doves but grey warbler numbers went down by more than half at the sites.

One of the researchers, Josie Galbraith, said the grey warbler's ability to forage for insects may have been disrupted by the higher number of other birds.

Ms Galbraith said the public should not stop feeding birds but should look at alternatives to bread that would benefit native species, such as sugar water.

Sparrows eating bread

Sparrow numbers increased at gardens where bread and seeds were fed to birds Photo: 123RF

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