© Marcel Burkhardt
Schreiber, H. (2021)
Anthropogenic feeding of red kites in Switzerland: Motivations and consequences
Master's Thesis, Universität Zürich
The provision of food for garden birds is one of the most widespread and popular forms of human-wildlife interaction throughout western countries. Yet despite its popularity, little is known about the reasons why people feed wild birds, especially raptors. Although bird feeding can have a positive impact on both the birds and the people feeding them, there are also undesirable side effects. Increasing complaints from neighbours of such feeding sites in recent years have shown that there is an existing conflict. So far, there is only little knowledge about the negative effects that feeding sites can have on surrounding neighbours and what factors influence whether a person feels disturbed by the feeding or not. Our study aimed to explore the motivations behind red kite feeding, which represents an increasing trend in Switzerland. By interviewing 20 people who regularly feed red kites, we found that pleasure, connecting with nature and the desire to nurture are the main reasons why people provide food for red kites in several Swiss regions. The further objective of this study was to analyse the disturbing factors for people living near these feeding sites in detail with a mixed methods approach. First, eight people living close to feeding sites were interviewed to explore their attitudes and concerns towards the red kite feeding. The information gained from the semi-structured interviews served to develop a questionnaire, which was used to survey 70 people during the following quantitative stage. Analysing the responses, we found several disturbing factors that can result from feeding sites, with noise pollution, food waste and bird excrements being the most important ones. Furthermore, we found that the relationship between the people providing food for birds and their neighbour determines how that person perceives the feeding. Understanding value orientations and attitudes of stakeholders involved in such a conflict is crucial for developing solutions and compromises. By highlighting the attitudes and motivations of both feeders and their neighbours, our study facilitates future conflict management.