Upcoming Meetings

PROGRAMME for 2021


Monday 18 October 2021 – 6.30 pm – Alexander Lees – Does bird feeding help or hinder avian conservation?

Abstract: This talk will discuss emerging evidence for positive and negative impacts resulting from the provisioning of wildlife with food, water and breeding sites in our gardens. While some provisioning is targeted at single species of conservation concern, generalised provisioning is far more common and can exceed the local availability of natural resources for recipient species. This generalised provisioning is enthusiastically promoted by many conservation organisations as a means to foster connection with nature and help wildlife. However, there is now emerging evidence that such a vast input of additional resources into the environment has diverse, ecosystem-wide consequences. The direct effects upon species which are regularly fed has garnered most research interest; these are generally positive in leading to increased survival, productivity and hence population growth, although disease transmission is an increasing worry. However, the wider implications for the recipients’ non-provisioned competitors, prey and predators are underappreciated, and the talk illustrates the pathways by which they may generate pervasive negative impacts for biodiversity, necessitating a revaluation of the what, when, where and why of garden bird feeding.


Biography: Dr Alexander Lees is a senior lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University and works on the ecology, biogeography and conservation of birds, especially in Amazonia. He is especially interested in how competition shapes avian community structure in the current era of global change. Alex has written over 120 scientific papers, books chapters and books and sits on the steering committee of the Sustainable Amazon Network.


Register to attend the talk for free here.


Interactions facilitated by garden bird provisioning. Blue arrows good for recipient; red bad.


The planned evening talk by Professor Jared Diamond, to be held in conjunction with the Linnean Society, on 5 June 2020 unfortunately had to be postponed because of restrictions resulting from the covid pandemic. Hopefully, it may be able to be re-arranged for a date later in 2021.  Details will be announced as soon as available.