Want noisy miners to be less despotic? Think twice before filling your garden with nectar-rich flowers

Noisy miners are complicated creatures. These Australian native honeyeaters live in large cooperative groups, use alarm calls to target specific predators, and sometimes help raise the young of other miners. But they’re perhaps best known for their aggressive and coordinated attacks on other birds – a behaviour known as “mobbing”.

We conducted a study investigating some of the possible factors that influence mobbing. We were interested in whether access to human food left on plates at cafes, or a high nectar supply thanks to planted gardens, might give urban miners extra energy and time to mob other species more often. We also examined whether miners were more aggressive towards some species over others.

Our study, published in the journal Emu – Austral Ornithology, found it wasn’t cafes with access to sugar-rich food that led to more miner aggression. In fact, gardens were where we recorded the

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