Environment &Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter, Penryn, Cornwall TR10 9EZ, U.K.
Global Ecology Lab, University of Maryland, Maryland, MD 20742, U.S.
Private gardens provide vital opportunities for people to interact with nature. The most popular form of interaction is through gardenbird feeding. Understanding how landscape features and seasons determine patterns of movement of feeder-using songbirds
is key to maximising the well-being benefits they provide. To determine
these patterns we established three networks of automated data loggers
along a gradient of greenspace fragmentation. Over a 12-month period we
tracked 452 tagged blue tits Cyantistes caeruleus and great tits Parus
major moving between feeder pairs 9,848 times, to address two questions:
(i) Do urban features within different forms, and season, influence
structural (presence-absence of connections between feeders by birds)
and functional (frequency of these connections) connectivity? (ii) Are
there general patterns of structural and functional connectivity across
forms? Vegetation cover increased connectivity in all three networks,
whereas the presence of road gaps negatively affected functional but not
structural connectivity. Across networks structural connectivity was
lowest in the summer when birds
maintain breeding territories, however patterns of functional
connectivity appeared to vary with habitat fragmentation. Using
empirical data this study shows how key urban features and season
influence movement of feeder-using songbirds, and we provide evidence that this is related to greenspace fragmentation.