Skip to Main Content
The nest predator assemblage for songbirds in Mono Lake basin riparian habitatsAuthor(s): Quresh S. Latif; Sacha K. Heath; Grant Ballard
Source: Western North American Naturalist. 72: 276-287.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
PDF: View PDF (87.97 KB)
DescriptionBecause nest predation strongly limits avian fitness, ornithologists identify nest predators to inform ecological research and conservation. During 2002–2008, we used both video-monitoring of natural nests and direct observations of predation to identify nest predators of open-cup nesting riparian songbirds along tributaries of Mono Lake, California. Video cameras at 50 nests of 3 songbird species and direct observations of additional nests confirmed 10 distinct nest-predator species and suggested one additional species. Video-monitored nests experienced reduced predation rates, and video observations mainly captured nestling predation, even though predation rates were higher for nonvideo-monitored nests during the egg period. These findings suggest cameras may have missed some predators. By supplementing video records with field observations, we reduced the likelihood of excluding species from our predator list that substantially impact fitness due to camera-related biases. No single predator species emerged as predominantly important for shaping avian fitness. Nevertheless, we frequently observed garter snakes (Thamnophis sp.) depredating nestlings and Brown-headed Cowbirds (Molothrus ater) depredating eggs. Corvids and rodents were also identified as potentially frequent groups of nest predators. Video cameras recorded partial predation by 5 predator types, as well as several cases in which nests were visited by multiple predators. Finally, 6 of 7 predators that were video-recorded depredating artificial nests were species also documented depredating natural nests. These observations verify the relevance of artificial-nest data for further study of these predators.
- You may send email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request a hard copy of this publication.
- (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
- 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.
CitationLatif, Quresh S.; Heath, Sacha K.; Ballard, Grant. 2012. The nest predator assemblage for songbirds in Mono Lake basin riparian habitats. Western North American Naturalist. 72: 276-287.
Keywordsnest predator, songbirds, Mono Lake basin, riparian habitats
- Differences in predators of artificial and real songbirds nests: Evidence of bias in artificial nest studies
- Reproductive success and nest depredation of the Florida scrub-jay
- Use of artificial nests to investigate predation on freshwater turtle nests
XML: View XML