Study highlights easy methods to increase bird diversity

Studies have shown that frugivores and granivores seem to do well in cities, as these birds feed on the seeds
Last Updated 26 January 2021, 09:12 IST

Some easy and small steps can increase bird diversity in cities, according to a new study.

These simple steps include adding dried insects and nuts to the food you put out, keeping it in larger cavity nests for owls and other species, maintaining patches of native vegetation in parks and gardens, and maintaining local waterbodies for waders and migratory birds.

The study – ‘Which Traits Influence Bird Survival in the City? A Review’ – has been conducted by Swaroop Patankar, Ravi Jambhekar, Kulbhushansingh, Ramesh Suryawanshi, and Harini Nagendra.

While Patankar, Jambhekar and Nagendra are from the Center for Climate Change and Sustainability, Azim Premji University, Bengaluru, Suryavanshi represents Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysuru, and Snow Leopard Trust, Seattle.

An important suggestion to bird enthusiasts and urban planners would be to include a variety of food items in bird feeders as this might help birds with different diets to meet their nutrition requirements.

Studies have shown that frugivores and granivores seem to do well in cities, as these birds feed on the seeds that are provided by people in bird feed.

If dried insects and nuts are included in the food, it might help insectivorous birds in the city. If bigger cavity nests are provided for birds, like owls and other larger species, then these species might bounce back in good numbers in the cities.

Additionally, maintaining patches of native vegetation in urban habitats might be a great solution for supporting not only the bird species but also insects and small mammal communities that can serve as a prey base to the birds.

Along with patches of native vegetation, it is also crucial to conserve the local water bodies in cities, as these act as refuges for several migratory birds and local waders. In the Mediterranean, it was observed that the natural water bodies were key habitat for several species of owls. Hence, the health of the lakes, ponds, and rivers is crucial for the survival of many urban species.

“Using a trait-based approach will be useful for understanding the impacts of urbanization on bird species. Understanding the role of traits with an understanding of urban changes will be most useful,” the study states.

(Published 26 January 2021, 09:12 IST)

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