Birds have adapted since the 1970s to peck at food left out over winter

  • Leaving food out for birds to help them through the winter is now widespread

  • Scientists say the beaks of great tits are getting bigger so they can reach seeds 

  • Their beaks appear to have lengthened relatively quickly in evolutionary terms 

The beaks of British garden birds are getting longer to help them reach the seeds in bird feeders, according to scientists.

Leaving food out for birds to help them through the winter has become widespread in recent decades, and scientists believe great tits have developed longer beaks than their European counterparts as a result.

The beaks appear to have lengthened relatively quickly in evolutionary terms – since only the 1970s. 

Their beaks appear to have lengthened relatively quickly in evolutionary terms.

Read the full story at DailyMail.co.uk

To see the research paper and the full findings click here


References

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Recent natural selection causes adaptive evolution of an avian polygenic trait BY MIRTE BOSSELEWIS G. SPURGINVERONIKA N. LAINEELLA F. COLEJOSH A. FIRTHPHILLIP GIENAPPANDREW G. GOSLERKEITH MCMAHONJOCELYN POISSANTIRENE VERHAGENMARTIEN A. M. GROENENKEES VAN OERSBEN C. SHELDONMARCEL E. VISSERJON SLATESCIENCE : 365-368