One of the most surprising things that I discovered during my PhD research on garden bird feeding is just how little we know about this incredibly widespread activity. Various studies have shown that around half of households in the UK, Australia and North America feed wild birds, yet my supervisor (Mark Fellowes, University of Reading) and I could find no year-round quantitative data on what is being given. When I started to think about the immense numbers of gardens/backyards, birds and calories that the participation figures represent worldwide I found it hard to believe how few researchers are working in this field. I came away from the BOU Urban Birds conference earlier this year with the sense that this is beginning to change but also that there is still so much more to learn.
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