An animal geography of avian feeding habits in Peterborough, Ontario

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Animal geography, emphasising jointly ‘actant’ behaviour of animals and people, encourages an innovative rethink of animal ecology, including animal strategies, hopes and fears in foraging, in a co-dependent framework with human behaviour. This paper studies bird–human reactions and feeding interactions in Peterborough, Ontario. It uses ecological survey methods, and also relies on alternative sources, including unique bird behaviours and ‘strategies’, intra-species differences and human emotions, preferences and feeding strategies. Feeders’ presence attracted birds to non-habitat areas, altering the ecology of avian presence and foraging, and preferential feeding created serious, previously non-existent, inter-species conflicts and inventive, usually successful reactions from birds. There were inter-species, and in some cases intra-species, hierarchies of dominance, based on possible avian decisionmaking co-dependent with the human behaviours in the continually recreated and inflected spaces. This possibly anthropomorphic perspective of bird behaviour moves beyond established theories of adaptation and the relation of human–bird behavioural interactions to bird ecology.

Keywords: Peterborough; actant; animal geography; avian competition; foraging; recreation

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Geography, Vancouver Island University, British Columbia, Canada V9R 5S5, Email:

Publication date: December 1, 2008

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