Organic farms in diverse landscapes benefit overwintering birds

Photo credit: Dluogs

A recent study published in Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment investigated the effect that organic farming has on birds over the winter. The researchers compared the number of bird species as well as the abundance, or number of individuals present for each species, in plots on 16 paired organic and conventional farms. The study found that over the winter, organic farms had more species of birds than conventional farms.  They also found that organic farms in areas with patches of native forests had a greater abundance of birds and, in particular, supported many seed-eating birds. “Our results suggest that organic farming can benefit farmland birds in heterogeneous landscapes, particularly during winter, probably due to increased food availability,” the authors wrote.