Bird feeding spots provide plenty of benefits – but may also do harm
There are several bird feeding locations on Ruissalo that help the island’s birds survive winter. Birds are easy and fun to watch as they congregate to feed, and researchers also make use of these locations in their efforts to monitor bird populations. However, there is also a darker side to bird feeding. Extensive feeding affects different species in different ways.
For example, in recent decades the blue tit population of Ruissalo has grown tenfold, while at the same time the willow tit has all but disappeared from the island. One of the factors contributing to this might be bird feeding, coupled with climate change and the availability of bird houses, which the blue tit is more adept in utilising than the willow tit. Feeding spots may also encourage migratory birds to delay their migration or even attempt overwintering. On Ruissalo, bird feeding spots may not be established within the borders of the island’s nature reserves.