Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub


    Understanding how weather influences survival and reproduction is an important component of forecasting how climate change will influence wildlife population viability. Nest predation is the primary source of reproductive failure for passerine birds and can change in response to temperature. However, it is unclear which predator species are responsible for such patterns because predation events are rarely observed. We investigated whether temperature influenced predator-specific rates of nest predation by analyzing data from six prior studies conducted between 1997 and 2010 in Texas, Illinois, and Missouri that used constant-surveillance video systems to identify predators at the nests of Golden-cheeked Warblers (Setophaga chrysoparia), Black-capped Vireos (Vireo atricapilla), Indigo Buntings (Passerina cyanea), and Acadian Flycatchers (Empidonax virescens). Rates of nest predation by snakes and birds increased as daily maximum temperatures increased, whereas predation by mammals was essentially invariant in response to temperature. The relative roles of physiological versus community-level mechanisms (e.g., abundance or behavior of predators and/or alternative prey) in driving the patterns we observed remain unclear, but our data point to the need to consider important biological interactions when forecasting the effects of climate change on songbird populations.

    Publication Notes

    • Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
    • Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
    • During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
    • Please contact Sharon Hobrla, if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Cox, W. Andrew; Thompson III, F.R.; Reidy, J.L. 2013. The effects of temperature on nest predation by mammals, birds, and snakes. The Auk. 130(4): 784-790.


    Google Scholar


    cause-specific mortality, nest survival, passerines, temperature, weather

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page