Birds are not the only ones impacted by guidance to cease bird feeding.

Published online
22 Mar 2024
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
People and Nature

Dayer, A. A. & Pototsky, P. C. & Hall, R. J. & Hawley, D. M. & Phillips, T. B. & Bonter, D. N. & Dietsch, A. M. & Greig, E. & Hochachka, W. M.
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Humans have a particularly strong connection with birds, driving the enormous popularity of residential bird feeding in much of the world. We conducted a web search to document US state wildlife management agency responses to two recent avian disease outbreaks, finding that 23 agencies made recommendations to cease feeding wild birds in 2021-2022. The psychological benefits of bird feeding for humans are well-documented but often overlooked in management decisions in response to avian disease outbreaks. Likewise, ecological evidence does not necessarily support ceasing bird feeding to reduce the spread of every avian disease. Ecological and social science need to be applied in tandem to ensure that well-intended guidance to cease feeding of birds does not have unintended consequences.

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