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Journal Articles Scientific Reports Year : 2020

The ecological significance of birds feeding from the hand of humans

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Abstract

Animals keep a safe distance to humans and thus humans rarely physically encounter wild animals. However, birds have been known to feed from the hand of humans. Such behaviour must reflect the trade-off between acquisition of food and the risk of being captured by a potential predator feeding from the hand. Relying on YouTube, an international video-sharing platform, we found 36 European bird species recorded feeding from the hand of humans. We compared ecological traits between these species and all other 490 European bird species, which were not recorded as feeding from a human hand. We found that species with a large number of innovative behaviours, a higher rate of introduction success, larger breeding range, larger population size, and urban tolerance have a higher probability of feeding from the hand of a human. These associations were also supported after control for the similarity among taxa due to common phylogenetic descent. In conclusion, these findings suggest that frequent feeding from the hand of a human results in the transition from natural environments to novel urbanized environments with consequences for population size increasing and range expansion. Ecological variables Species feeding from hand + Species not feeding from hand + Coefficient Standard error z P Number of innovations* 9.45 ± 1.48 (29) 4.62 ± 0.33 (193) 2.57 0.61 4.21 <0.
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hal-03024716 , version 1 (25-11-2020)

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Anders Pape Møller, Canwei Xia. The ecological significance of birds feeding from the hand of humans. Scientific Reports, 2020, 10, ⟨10.1038/s41598-020-66165-9⟩. ⟨hal-03024716⟩
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