The Effect of a 3D Printed Northern Cardinal Decoy on Feeder Visitations by Wintering Wood

Friday, February 12, 2016
Allison Dickey, Center for Advanced Professional Studies, Overland Park, KS
Alexis Durr, Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS), Overland Park, KS
Bird watching is increasingly a popular recreational activity, and bird feeders are commonly used to increase the opportunity of observing birds.  Many birds like the Northern Cardinal can be territtorial.  To investigate the influence of Northern Cardinals on the feeding of other birds, the number of bird feeder visitions by common birds was observed for a pair of standard hanging platform feeders within a riparian woodland in Johnson County, Kansas.  A 3D printed decoy Northern Cardinal was randomly attached to one of the feeders during each observation period.  The feeders were observed for approximately 12 hours on eight separate days spanning the month of February in 2015.  A total of 853 bird feeder visitations were observed with the Tufted Titmouse, Black-capped Chickadee, and White-breasted Nuthatch making up 41%, 30%, and 22% of the observations, respectively.  House Sparrows, Downy Woodpeckers, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, and Goldfinches were also observed.  Overall, 580(68%) of the bird feeder visitations were recorded at feeders lacking the decoy while 273 (32%) visitations were observed when the Northern Cardinal decoy was present.  A Chi-squared test demonstrates a statistically significant difference between the treatments (χ2=109.78, p<0.001) and suggests that Northern Cardinal decoys negatively effect bird feeder visitations by common wintering woodland birds.  This pattern of influence was observed for each of the three most common birds.  Expanding the length of daytime and seasons in which observations were made could further support and clarify the influence of territorial birds on bird feeder visitations by common woodland birds.