Does Removal of Duck Nest Predators Affect the Temporal Patterns of Predation for Simulated Nests of Grassland Songbirds?
Keywords:grasslands, nest predation, predator control, songbirds, timing devices, waterfowl
AbstractWe tested whether the temporal patterns of songbird nest predation changed following removal of predators of duck nests in North Dakota, USA, 1995-1996. Overall, 2286 simulated nests were deployed of which 951 were equipped with depredation timing devices that recorded the time of day of nest destruction. Predators destroyed 242 timer nests, and 155 depredation events were recorded. Temporal distribution of predation events was uniform over a 24-h period. However, predator groups, identified by using marks left on modeling clay eggs, depredated nests at different times. Mean times of depredation were 07h41, 12h57, 17h50, and 22h47 for small mammals, ground squirrels, birds, and medium-sized mammals, respectively. Daily depredation events occurred earlier on removal versus non-removal sites. However, within each predator group, there was no difference in depredation times between removal and non-removal sites. We suggest that the difference in time of depredation is caused by the differential importance of each predator group on removal versus removal sites, and thus conclude that removing duck nest predators does not affect temporal foraging patterns of smaller predators.
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