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Health hazards to wild birds and risk factors associated with anthropogenic food provisioning

Lawson, B; Robinson, RA; Toms, MP; Risely, K; Macdonald, S; Cunningham, AA; (2018) Health hazards to wild birds and risk factors associated with anthropogenic food provisioning. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences , 373 (1745) , Article 20170091. 10.1098/rstb.2017.0091. Green open access

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Abstract

Provision of supplementary food for wild birds at garden feeding stations is a common, large-scale and year-round practice in multiple countries including Great Britain (GB). While these additional dietary resources can benefit wildlife, there is a concomitant risk of disease transmission, particularly when birds repeatedly congregate in the same place at high densities and through interactions of species that would not normally associate in close proximity. Citizen science schemes recording garden birds are popular and can integrate disease surveillance with population monitoring, offering a unique opportunity to explore inter-relationships between supplementary feeding, disease epidemiology and population dynamics. Here, we present findings from a national surveillance programme in GB and note the dynamism of endemic and emerging diseases over a 25-year period, focusing on protozoal (finch trichomonosis), viral (Paridae pox) and bacterial (passerine salmonellosis) diseases with contrasting modes of transmission. We also examine the occurrence of mycotoxin contamination of food residues in bird feeders, which present both a direct and indirect (though immunosuppression) risk to wild bird health. Our results inform evidence-based mitigation strategies to minimize anthropogenically mediated health hazards, while maintaining the benefits of providing supplementary food for wild birds. This article is part of the theme issue ‘Anthropogenic resource subsidies and host–parasite dynamics in wildlife’.

Type: Article
Title: Health hazards to wild birds and risk factors associated with anthropogenic food provisioning
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2017.0091
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2017.0091
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10037781
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