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Title: Predation of Small Eggs in Artificial Nests: Effects of Nest Position, Edge, and Potential Predator Abundance in Extensive Forest

Author: DeGraaf, Richard M.; Maier, Thomas J.; Fuller, Todd K.;

Date: 1999

Source: The Wilson Bulletin 111(2):236-242

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: After photographtc observations in the field and laboratory tests indicated that small rodents might be significant predators on small eggs, we conducted a field study in central Massachusetts to compare predation of House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) eggs in artificial nests near to (5-15 m) and far from (100-120 m) forest edges and between ground and shrub nests. As in earlier studies in managed northeastern forest landscapes that used larger quail eggs, predation rates on small eggs in nests at the forest edge did not differ (P > 0.05) from those in the forest interior for either ground nests (edge = 0.80 vs interior = 0.90) or shrub nests (edge = 0.38 vs interior = 0.28) after 12 days of exposure. However, predation rates on eggs in ground nests were significantly higher (P < 0.001) than in shrub nests at both the edge and interior. There were no significant (P > 0.05) differences in the frequency of capture of the 6 most common small mammal species between forest edge and interior. Logistic regression analyses indicated a highly significant (P < 0.001) nest placement effect but very little location or small mammal effect. Predation of small eggs by small-mouthed ground predators such as white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) has not been documented as a major factor in egg predation studies, but use of appropriately-sized eggs and quantification of predator species presence and abundance seems essential to future studies.

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DeGraaf, Richard M.; Maier, Thomas J.; Fuller, Todd K. 1999. Predation of Small Eggs in Artificial Nests: Effects of Nest Position, Edge, and Potential Predator Abundance in Extensive Forest. The Wilson Bulletin 111(2):236-242


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