Investigator activities reduce nest predation in blackbirds Turdus merula

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2010
Journal:Journal of Avian Biology
Date Published:2010
ISBN Number:1600-048X
Keywords:Merula, Turdidae, Turdus, Turdus maximus, Turdus merula
Abstract:The effect of investigator perturbance has been traditionally considered detrimental for avian nesting success in terms of enhanced nest predation. This conclusion was however based on a taxonomically biased group of species and, thus, the study of that effect in additional species was essential for reaching a more firm conclusion. Furthermore, although it has been suggested that the effect of nest visiting could also depend on nest predator community, no study has so far tested this hypothesis yet. Trying to detect possible influence of nest-visiting rates and predator community on nesting success we visited European blackbird Turdus merula nests at two different experimental rates in two populations that considerably differ in the composition of their nest predator communities and natural nest predation rates. Contrary to the traditional ideas, our results not only show that investigator disturbance significantly reduces nest predation, but also that this reduction is maintained in both populations despite the difference in the community of nest predators. We discuss these findings and suggest that predators, especially mammals, might avoid places disturbed by investigators.
Short Title:Journal of Avian Biology
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith