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Garden feeding is ‘shaping bird communities’
Today, a broader range of species are commonly seen at feeders, with particularly marked changes in goldfinches and wood pigeons.

Forty-year study links feeding with rise in numbers and diversity 

The popular pastime of feeding garden birds appears to have led to an increase in the population of several species, and the diversity of species visiting feeders.

This is according to a new study by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO).

Researchers analysed data from the BTO’s Garden Bird Feeding Survey, alongside information from advertising in the RSPB Birds magazine over a 40-year period, to show how the number and variety of food products has risen in this time.

Findings suggest that in the 1970s, garden bird feeders were dominated by two species, the house sparrow and starling.

Today, a broader range of species are commonly seen at feeders, with particularly marked changes in goldfinches and wood pigeons. In 1973, fewer than 20 per cent of survey participants reported these species at their feeders, but this number has now jumped to 80 per cent.

Population increases were not seen in species that do not visit garden feeders, however.

BTO said garden feeding is ‘almost certainly reshaping entire bird communities’ but the large-scale, long-term effects on community ecology are not known.

The charity added: ‘Urban areas of Britain are consequently nurturing growing populations of feeder-using bird species, while the populations of species that do not use feeders remain unchanged. Our findings illustrate the on-going, gross impact people can have on bird community structure across large spatial scales.’

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Kennel Club appoints new chief executive

News Story 1
 The Kennel Club has announced the appointment of Mark Beazley, who was previously Cats Protection's director of operations, as chief executive. Mark replaces Rosemary Smart, who stepped down from the role in April after 18 years.

Mark has held several senior strategic and executive roles, including executive director at Dogs Trust Ireland and chair of the Companion Animal Working Group at Eurogroup for Animals. He was also heavily involved in the establishment of the Eu Cat and Dog Alliance.

Mark will take up his new role in October. 

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International Cat Care appoints new head of veterinary division

International Cat Care (ICC) has announced the appointment of Nathalie Dowgray as head of the charity's veterinary division.

Nathalie, who is an RCVS advanced practitioner in feline medicine, will lead the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM) and a play key role in advancing knowledge and research in feline medicine.

Claire Bessant, iCatCare's chief executive said: "We're absolutely delighted to be welcoming Nathalie to the charity. She brings a depth and breadth of feline expertise and understanding which fits perfectly with the charity's work and development, and her enthusiasm for cats is infectious."