Scientific Publications

Nightingale

Peer-reviewed research papers funded by SongBird Survival

Habitat quality, urbanisation & pesticides influence bird abundance and richness in gardens.
Cannelle Tassin de Montaigu, Dave Goulson
2023. Science in the Total Environment
Providing bird-friendly habitat in gardens is crucial to the survival of songbirds, but many of us use pesticides in order to tend our gardens. This paper looks at the effect of garden pesticides on bird diversity and abundance.

Owner-ascribed personality profiles distinguish domestic cats that capture and bring home wild animal prey
Martina Cecchetti, Sarah L.Crowley, Jennifer McDonald, Robbie A. McDonald
2022. Applied Animal Behaviour Science
In many ecological contexts, predation of wildlife by domestic cats, combined with their abundance, is a threat to biodiversity conservation. The predatory behaviour of domestic cats shows remarkable between-individual variation.

Provision of High Meat Content Food and Object Play Reduce Predation of Wild Animals by Domestic Cats Martina Cecchetti, Sarah L Crowley, Cecily E D Goodwin and Robbie A McDonald
2020. Current Biology
Prescriptive solutions for cat owners to reduce predation by cats  ​

Drivers and facilitators of hunting behaviour in domestic cats and options for management
Martina Cecchetti, Sarah L Crowley and Robbie A McDonald
2020. Mammal Review
A review of the drivers of hunting behaviour in domestic cats, and current evidence surrounding the effectiveness of different management options.  

Diverse perspectives of cat owners indicate barriers to and opportunities for managing cat predation of wildlife Sarah L. Crowley, Martina Cecchetti, and Robbie A. McDonald
2020. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 
This is the ‘five cat owner perspectives’ as described in our Cats and their Owners Project. ​

Identifying agricultural pesticides that may pose a risk for birds
Cannelle Tassin de Montaigu​, Dave Goulson
2020. PeerJ 8: e9526
This is the pesticides research project investigating pesticides and which may be harmful to songbirds.  ​

Our Wild Companions: Domestic cats in the Anthropocene
Sarah L. Crowley, Martina Cecchetti, and Robbie A. McDonald
2020. Trends in Ecology & Evolution ​
This is an academic ‘think-piece’ which argues that domestic cats have long been, and continue to be, central to human societies and that we need to work across disciplines (veterinary, ecological, social science) to think about how to make our relationship with them more sustainable  

Predation of artificial nests in UK farmland by magpies
Lucy A. Capstick, Rufus B. Sage, Joah R. Madden 
2019. European Journal of Wildlife Research 65-50
An experiment showing some species of songbird are particularly susceptible to predation by magpies and that particular individual magpies are more predatory than others.  Recommendation for methods of control.

Hunting behaviour in domestic cats: An exploratory study of risk and responsibility among cat owners
Sarah L. Crowley, Martina Cecchetti, Robbie A. McDonald
2019. People and Nature 1-13
Analysis of interviews with cat owners, focusing on ideas about owner responsibility for cat behaviour.  ​

Introduced Grey Squirrels subvert supplementary feeding of suburban wild birds
Hugh J. Hanmer, Rebecca L. Thomas, Mark D.E. Fellowes
2018. Landscape and Urban Planning 177
Part of our Gardens for Birds study – showing that grey squirrels outcompete and deter songbirds from visiting feeders. Methods for deterring or removing grey squirrels recommended.  

Does best-practice crow Corvus corone and magpie Pica pica control on UK farmland improve nest success in hedgerow-nesting songbirds? A field experiment
Rufus B. Sage and Nicholas J. Aebischer
2017. Wildlife Biology wlb.00375
A 4 year experiment showing the positive effects of predator control on fledging success of songbirds. Recommendations for land managers using these practices.

Urbanisation influences range size of the domestic cat (Felis catus): consequences for conservation
Hugh J. Hanmer, Rebecca L. Thomas and Mark D. E. Fellowes
2017. Journal of Urban Ecology 1-11
Part of our Gardens for Birds study – showing that cats can travel long distances from home and they can affect the natural environment beyond the home-range.  Recommending caution when planning home development near delicate habitats. ​

Use of anthropogenic material affects bird nest arthropod community structure: influence of urbanisation, and consequences for ectoparasites and fledging success
Hugh J. Hanmer, Rebecca L. Thomas, Gareth J. F. Beswick, Bradley P. Collins and Mark D. E. Fellowes
2017. Journal of Ornithology 1-15
Part of our Gardens for Birds study – Showing that songbirds use artificial materials in urban nests and this has a detrimental effect on songbird young.  Recommend offering natural sources of nesting materials. ​

Provision of supplementary food for wild birds may increase the risk of local nest predation
Hugh J. Hanmer, Rebecca L. Thomas & Mark D. E. Fellowes
2016. Ibis, 159, 158–167 
Part of our Gardens for Birds study – Showing that songbird nests within sight of feeders are 5 times more likely to be noticed and predated by predators visiting those feeders.  Recommendations for deterring predators and distancing of nests. ​

Detecting an impact of predation on bird populations depends on the methods used to assess the predators
Malcolm Nicoll and Ken Norris
2010. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 1, 300–310
A review of previous research showing that analytical studies of data sets alone are not reliable evidence and experimental studies are required for discovering real effects and effective solutions.    ​

Population change of avian predators and grey squirrels in England: is there evidence for an impact on avian prey populations?
Stuart E. Newson, Eric A. Rexstad, Stephen R. Baillie, Stephen T. Buckland and Nicholas J. Aebischer
2010. Journal of Applied Ecology, 47, 244–252
A data-analysis of populations of different species.


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