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Blackcaps are arriving in British gardens due to bird food

Research by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) has revealed that bird food provided in British gardens has helped Blackcaps to rapidly evolve a successful new migration route.

This is the first time that garden bird feeding has been shown to affect large-scale bird distributions.

The study, published in the international journal Global Change Biology, has revealed that Blackcaps are becoming increasingly associated with garden bird feeding over time, and that supplementary foods, particularly fats and sunflower hearts, are affecting their national distribution in winter.  

Dr Kate Plummer, BTO research ecologist and lead author of the paper, said: “It’s been suspected for a long time that Blackcaps started coming to Britain in winter to take advantage of the bird food being provided in gardens.”


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