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Does food supplementation really enhance productivity of breeding birds?

Overview of attention for article published in Oecologia, May 2010
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (94th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (88th percentile)

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2 blogs
1 tweeter
1 Wikipedia page


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159 Mendeley
Does food supplementation really enhance productivity of breeding birds?
Published in
Oecologia, May 2010
DOI 10.1007/s00442-010-1645-x
Pubmed ID

Timothy J. E. Harrison, Jennifer A. Smith, Graham R. Martin, Dan E. Chamberlain, Stuart Bearhop, Gillian N. Robb, S. James Reynolds


Food availability influences multiple stages of the breeding cycle of birds, and supplementary feeding has helped in its understanding. Most supplementation studies have reported advancements of laying, whilst others, albeit less numerous, have also demonstrated fitness benefits such as larger clutches, shorter incubation periods, and greater hatching success. Relatively few studies, however, have investigated the effects of supplementary feeding for protracted periods across multiple stages of the breeding cycle. These effects are important to understand since long-term food supplementation of birds is recommended in urban habitats and is used as a tool to increase reproductive output in endangered species. Here, we compare the breeding phenology and productivity of blue tits Cyanistes caeruleus and great tits Parus major breeding in food-supplemented and non-supplemented blocks in a broadleaf woodland in central England over three seasons (2006-2008). Supplementation was provided continuously from several weeks pre-laying until hatching, and had multiple significant effects. Most notably, supplementation reduced brood size significantly in both species, by half a chick or more at hatching (after controlling for year and hatching date). Reduced brood sizes in supplemented pairs were driven by significantly smaller clutches in both species and, in blue tits, significantly lower hatching success. These are novel and concerning findings of food supplementation. As expected, supplementary feeding advanced laying and shortened incubation periods significantly in both species. We discuss the striking parallels between our findings and patterns in blue and great tit reproduction in urban habitats, and conclude that supplementary feeding may not always enhance the breeding productivity of birds.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profile of 1 tweeter who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 159 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United Kingdom 6 4%
Australia 3 2%
Spain 2 1%
Brazil 2 1%
United States 2 1%
Switzerland 1 <1%
France 1 <1%
Romania 1 <1%
Canada 1 <1%
Other 0 0%
Unknown 140 88%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 42 26%
Researcher 29 18%
Student > Master 28 18%
Student > Bachelor 25 16%
Professor > Associate Professor 8 5%
Other 26 16%
Unknown 1 <1%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 115 72%
Environmental Science 26 16%
Unspecified 11 7%
Veterinary Science and Veterinary Medicine 2 1%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 1 <1%
Other 3 2%
Unknown 1 <1%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 19. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 12 September 2019.
All research outputs
of 13,528,187 outputs
Outputs from Oecologia
of 2,896 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 107,872 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Oecologia
of 18 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 13,528,187 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 93rd percentile: it's in the top 10% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 2,896 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a little more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 5.9. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 96% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 107,872 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 94% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 18 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done well, scoring higher than 88% of its contemporaries.