Madison, Wisconsin

Bob & Jan Ross

Bob & Jan Ross

We’re passionate about birds and nature. That’s why we opened a Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop in our community.

Madison, Wisconsin

8402 Old Sauk Road
Madison, WI 53562

Phone: (608) 664-1414
Fax: (608) 664-1416
Email: Send Message

Store Hours:
Mon - Fri: 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
Sat: 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sun: 11:00 am - 5:00 pm

Location: We are located just West of the Beltline exit to Old Sauk Road about 1.5 blocks, just west one store after the Walgreens on your right, at the intersection of Old Sauk Road and Junction Road.

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May, 2015 - Recent Article about Feeding Birds from New Zealand

(I have included the article at this end of this page.)  This study is being used by US and local media as the authority to suggest that feeding birds is not in their best interest.  The fact is New Zealand is nothing like the US in both habitat and types of birds.  Most of all of New Zealand is pristine and unchanged native habitat.  In the US we have succeeded in destroying so much of the natural habitat that our native birds have previously enjoyed for their survival.  Feeding the birds is one of the most important means of compensating for the lack of food resources caused by human activity.  In addition, almost all bird species in North America are in population decline and this clearly negates the idea this article suggests, at least, for the United States.

Steve Sample

Backyard bird feeding is great for some birds but not so good for one popular tiny native, a new study from the University of Auckland has found.


Backyard bird feeding is great for some birds but not so good for one popular tiny native, a new study from the University of Auckland has found.


The research, by PhD Candidate Josie Galbraith, Senior Lecturer Margaret Stanley and Associate Professor Jacqueline Beggs of the University’s School of Biological Sciences, builds on earlier research into New Zealanders’ backyard feeding habits.


The latest study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), looked at the effects of common bird feeding practices on particular species of birds and whether supplementary feeding of bread and seeds favours some species over others.


It found two introduced species in particular benefitted most: the common sparrow (Passer domesticus) and spotted dove (Streptopelia chinensis). Sparrow abundance was 2.4 times higher at feeding sites and spotted dove 3.6 times higher.



But the native grey warbler (Gerygone igata), voted New Zealanders’ Bird of the Year in 2007, significantly decreased in abundance at feeding sites, with numbers dropping by more than half.



The findings on the diminutive grey warbler, one of the most commonly-heard songs in New Zealand’s forest, is concerning, says Ms Galbraith.


"They typically forage on insects in the tree canopy but their ability to forage efficiently may be being affected by the disruption of higher densities of other birds at feeding sites," she says. "There is some evidence their numbers are declining anyway, so this study does add to that concern."



The researchers monitored 23 North Shore gardens over 18 months, with feeding at 11 sites and no feeding at 12 sites. In all, 33 species, a total of 18,228 birds, were recorded. The most commonly-observed species were sparrows, spotted doves, blackbirds, silvereye and myna.


They found the abundance of spotted doves in particular increased rapidly within two months of the start of feeding, suggesting the birds were moving to feeding sites from surrounding areas.


"This work certainly suggests bird-feeding favours introduced birds such as spotted doves over native birds, which mostly eat insects, nectar and fruit," Dr Stanley says.


The study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.