University of Oulu

Broggi, J., Hohtola, E. and Koivula, K. (2021), Winter feeding influences the cost of living in boreal passerines. Ibis, 163: 260-267.

Winter feeding influences the cost of living in boreal passerines

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Author: Broggi, Juli1; Hohtola, Esa2; Koivula, Kari2
Organizations: 1Estación Biológica de Doñana (CSIC), Av. Américo Vespucio 26, Seville, 41092 Spain
2Ecology and Genetics Research Unit, University of Oulu, PO Box 3000, Oulu, FIN‐90014 Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.6 MB)
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Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2020
Publish Date: 2021-01-12


The plastic regulation of internal energy reserves is acknowledged as the main adaptive response to winter conditions of resident small birds in northern latitudes, a strategy that may be altered whenever human‐supplemented food is available. We investigated the effects of supplementary feeding on the energy management strategy of two wild passerine species, the Willow Tit Poecile montanus and Blue Tit Cyanistes caeruleus, wintering in boreal conditions by measuring body mass and the energy cost of living, i.e. basal metabolic rate. Individuals of both species were heavier, larger and exhibited a higher energy cost of living when captured at the feeders than were individuals captured away from feeders. Fed Willow Tits expended more energy in maintenance, although this difference disappeared once mass was accounted for. Conversely, Blue Tits at feeders had higher mass‐adjusted energy cost of living, but only at low ambient temperatures. The results indicate that winter feeding has species‐specific effects on overall energy management strategy and modifies the response to environmental conditions of wintering passerines.

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Series: Ibis
ISSN: 0019-1019
ISSN-E: 1474-919X
ISSN-L: 0019-1019
Volume: 163
Issue: 1
Pages: 260 - 267
DOI: 10.1111/ibi.12862
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: J.B. has been funded by the Andalucía Talent Hub Program launched by the Andalusian Knowledge Agency, co-funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Program, Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (COFUND – Grant Agreement no. 291780) and the Junta de Andalucía. The study was supported by the Academy of Finland project nos. 102286 and 47195, and the Thule Institute of the University of Oulu (E.H.).
Copyright information: © 2020 The Authors. Ibis published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Ornithologists' Union. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.