Wild bird care in the garden

A scientific look at large scale, do-it-yourself, wildlife management

UFAW International Animal Welfare Symposium

Zoological Society of London, London, UK

4th May 2010


In recent years, there has been a huge growth of interest in feeding garden birds in many countries. In the UK, the amounts provided make a significant contribution to the annual food requirements of many bird populations. At a time when human changes to the environment are a major threat to many other species, garden bird feeding is grass roots, do-it-yourself wildlife management on a large scale.

Whether we like it or not, in meeting the needs of the vast and rapidly growing human population and in tackling the associated environmental consequences, the whole world is becoming a managed environment. Can lessons learned from caring for free-living backyard wildlife be applied more widely to help conserve biodiversity and to avoid adversely affecting wildlife welfare?

The aim of this symposium is to consider these questions and to share the results of recent research and advances in understanding on various aspects of the feeding and management of garden birds (matters that UFAW and others have been working on together in recent years through the Garden Bird Health Initiative – see http://www.ufaw.org.uk/gbhi.php). Topics will include nutritional aspects, effects on breeding and survival, epidemiology of diseases, and technological advances.

Programme Details

Speakers who will be contributing talks to the symposium in the following areas include:


  • James Kirkwood (Universities Federation for Animal Welfare) Introduction: the garden bird health initiative
  • Chris Whittles (CJ WildBird Foods Ltd) The history of garden bird feeding
  • Darryl Jones (Griffith University, Australia) Feeding wild birds: why we need to know more about a global experiment
  • Jonathan Blount and Stuart Bearhop (University of Exeter) Impacts of over-winter feeding on health and productivity
  • S James Reynolds (University of Birmingham) Effects of food supplementation in spring and early summer on breeding performance
  • John Mallord (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) The RSPB house sparrow feeding trial in London
  • Mike Toms and David Glue (British Trust for Ornithology) Provision of supplementary food at garden feeding stations and its value to wild birds in Britain and Ireland
  • Liz Humphreys1, Rob Robinson1, Becki Lawson2 and Mike Toms1 (1BTO, 2Institute of Zoology) Factors influencing disease transmission at garden feeding stations: a national analysis
  • David Leech and Vivienne Greenough (British Trust for Ornithology) Monitoring breeding success of urban birds: the BTOs nest box challenge
  • Becki Lawson (Institute of Zoology) Trichomonosis – an emerging threat to garden birds
  • André Dhondt (Cornell University, USA) Dynamics of mycoplasmal conjunctivitis in house finches
  • Scott McBurney, Spencer Greenwood, Raphaël Vanderstichel and María Forzán (University of Prince Edward Island, Canada) A pilot study to determine epidemiological factors associated with the emergence of trichomonosis in wild finch populations of the Canadian Maritime Provinces



  • P Cammack (University of Cumbria, UK) The use of gardens for birdwatching by birdwatchers
  • A Grogan (RSPCA, UK) Counting the cost of cats – a review of cat related casualties admitted to RSPCA Wildlife Centres
  • MC. Mainwaring and IR Hartley (Lancaster University, UK) Food supplementation and nest size in the Blue tit, Cyanistes caeruleus  
  • AW Philbey, FM Brown, HA Mather, JE Coia and DJ Taylor (University of Glasgow and Scottish Salmonella Reference Laboratory, Stobhill Hospital, UK)  Wild bird strains of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium in garden birds, cats and humans

The Abstracts for the Talks and Posters can be downloaded here.

A full timetable for the Symposium can be downloaded here.

Registration details:

The cost of registering for this meeting is £35.00. This price covers attendance at the symposium and refreshments but delegates will have to make their own lunch and accommodation arrangements. A list of hotels offering special rates to delegates can be downloaded here. To register please complete and return the form, or send the same information by email to ufaw@ufaw.org.uk as soon as possible, including payment. Please note that we cannot take bookings without a payment.  Click here to download an electronic registration form or click here to download a PDF version.



The symposium is being held in the Zoological Society of London’s Huxley Lecture Theatre, which is located on the opposite side of the road to the main entrance to London Zoo and to the right (ZSL, Outer Circle, Regent's Park London NW1 4RY). Camden Town, on the Northern line, is the nearest underground station. Click here to view a map of the venue and the surrounding area.


Background to UFAW:

UFAW, the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare, is an internationally-recognised, independent, scientific and educational animal welfare charity. The organization promotes high standards of welfare for farm, companion, laboratory and captive wild animals and those with which we interact in the wild. Information about the charity is at www.ufaw.org.uk.


Contact Details:

Stephen Wickens, Development Officer, UFAW, The Old School, Brewhouse Hill, Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire, AL4 8AN, UK. Tel: +44 (0) 1582 831818; Fax: +44 (0) 1582 831414; Website: www.ufaw.org.uk; Email: wickens@ufaw.org.uk


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