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Two Jackdaw Corvus monedula colonies were given supplementary food before and during breeding in 1983. Breeding density and cavity use were compared with those of the same colonies in previous years, when no food was provided. Predation rate and reproductive parameters were compared with those in the same colonies in previous years and with those of two control colonies, without experimental food. Jackdaws preferred safe cavities with small minimum nest-entrance dimensions and avoided those with a high risk of nest predation. In experimental (fed) colonies, however, there was a tendency to use all cavities, which resulted in an increased breeding density. No nests were preyed upon by Ravens Corvus corax in the experimental colonies because supplemental food favoured group defence by increasing colony size and by increasing the time the Jackdaws spent in the colony. Additional food advanced laying date, increased clutch size independently of laying date and increased fledging success. Supplementary food significantly increased fledging success in less than half of all experimental studies on birds. We suggest that the key to this problem is the species' breeding strategy, and we show that supplementary food significantly increased fledging success in brood-reduction strategist species but not in species which directly adjusted their clutch size.