Interacting with hummingbirds at home: Associations with supplemental feeding, plant diversity, plant origin, and landscape setting

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Abstract

Several organizations run wildlife-gardening programs designed to mitigate the biodiversity loss and disconnect between humans and wildlife that commonly accompanies urbanization. The National Audubon Society runs the Plants for Birds and the Humminbirds at Home programs that, like others, recommend homeowners to establish diverse assemblages of native plants with supplemental feeders. Here, we use plant and hummingbird data from the Hummingbirds at Home program to determine whether common wildlife-gardening recommendations correlate with intended outcomes. Our results showed that, after statistically controlling for several variables related to observer effort and geography, the relative occurrence and relative frequency of hummingbird sightings during patch surveys was positively related to the (1) presence of hummingbird feeders in a patch, (2) number of nectar-provisioning flowering-plant taxa in a patch, (3) degree to which nectar-provisioning flowering-plants in a patch were endemic to the conterminous USA, and (4) lack of impervious surface (a common proxy for urban development) in the surrounding landscape. These results support previous studies that showed how recommendations from wildlife-gardening programs associate with intended outcomes, but do so across an exceptionally broad, national extent that varies enormously in physical and biological geography.

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Meehan, T. D., Dale, K., Lebaron, G. S., Rowden, J., Michel, N. L., Wilsey, C. B., & Langham, G. M. (2020). Interacting with hummingbirds at home: Associations with supplemental feeding, plant diversity, plant origin, and landscape setting. Landscape and Urban Planning, 197. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2020.103774

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