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Human activity shapes the wintering ecology of a migratory bird
Van Doren BM, Conway GJ, Phillips RJ, Evans GC, Roberts GCM, Liedvogel M, Sheldon BC
Global Change Biology
Male blackcap with color rings feeding in a British garden. Photo by Benjamin Van Doren.

Human behavior profoundly affects the natural world, and migratory birds are particularly susceptible. Recent changes in blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) migration are linked to a warming climate and garden bird feeding. Using tracking data and visual observations, we found that blackcaps wintering in Britain and Ireland use gardens most frequently during harsher weather and are less mobile than individuals in their traditional Mediterranean winter range. Adults that favored gardens had better body condition and morphological traits linked to supplementary feeding and residency. We show that multiple anthropogenic forces are shaping blackcap biology, with implications for understanding responses to global change.