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Slim birds: Birds' eyes aren't bigger than their bellies

Friday, 2nd November 2018

A recent study* by UK scientist, Dr Lewis Halsey has discovered how birds keep their weight down even after overeating.
Birds such as Great Tits and Greenfinches seem to balance the amount of food they eat with their energy output.
 
Greenfinch

Dr Halsey, a biologist and reader at the University of Roehampton, recently reviewed more than a 100 studies to try and gain a better understanding of how our garden birds remain a relatively stable weight.

It was found that birds exercise by singing, shivering and fidgeting. When a bird has eaten a certain amount of food it can unconsciously balance the amount of exercise needed.
 
King fisher flying

It is understood that further research is required for different species in order to fully understand the different nutritional makeups.

One experiment that has been suggested is to present birds which normally stay slim with a feeder full of easier to digest seed, to see if they are then able to preserve a stable weight when faced with temptation.
 
 
*The review was published in the journal Trends in Ecology & Evolution
 
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