Ecological and Social Factors Determining the Diversity of Birds in Residential Yards and Gardens

  • Mark A. GoddardEmail author
  • Karen Ikin
  • Susannah B. Lerman


Residential landscapes with private yards and gardens are a major land cover in many cities, represent a considerable opportunity for bird conservation and enhance human experiences with wildlife. The number of studies of birds in residential landscapes is increasing worldwide, but a global-scale perspective on this research is lacking. Here we review the research conducted on birds in residential settings to explore how birds respond to this novel habitat and how private gardens can be designed and managed to enhance their value for bird populations and for human well-being. We examine the key ecological and social drivers that influence birds and draw particular attention to the importance of scale, the role of bird feeding, the predation risk from cats and the relationship between native vegetation and bird diversity. The success of bird conservation initiatives in residential landscapes hinges on collaboration between a range of stakeholders, and we conclude the chapter by making recommendations for urban planners and evaluating policy tools for incentivising householders and communities to conserve birds in their neighbourhoods.


Private gardens Socio-ecology Supplementary feeding Cat predation Urban planning 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark A. Goddard
    • 1
    Email author
  • Karen Ikin
    • 2
  • Susannah B. Lerman
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Newcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK
  2. 2.Fenner School of Environment and Society, The Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  3. 3.USDA Forest Service Northern Research StationAmherstUSA
  4. 4.Department of Environmental ConservationUniversity of MassachusettsAmherstUSA

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