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The Center for Native Grasslands Management

Title: The effect of supplemental prey and prescribed fire on success of artificial nests
Year: 2002
Author(s): Jones, D. D., Conner, L. M., Warren, R. J., Ware, G. O.
Source Title: Journal of Wildlife Management
Source Type: Journal
pages: 1112-1117
Original Publication: http://  
Abstract: Nest predation hinders recruitment of avian species and may be affected by availability of alternative prey and amount of nesting cover. Therefore, we evaluated effects of food abundance (i.e., supplemental prey) and time since prescribed fire on nest success of artificial ground nests. We monitored the fate of 759 artificial ground nests from June to July 2000. No interaction (P = 0.74) occurred between fire and Supplemental prey treatments. Nest success in prey-supplemented plots (37.6%) did not differ (P = 0.70) from control plots (44.9%), and nest success in burned plots (41.8%) did not differ (P = 0.86) front nonburned plots (40.7%). Motion-sensitive cameras placed on feeders revealed that mesomammals accounted for >80% of visits to feeders, indicating that supplemental prey was detected and consumed by mesomammals. Nest predators differed as a function of food abundance, with combined avian and small-mammal predation being greater in prey-supplemented (46.5%) than in control (25.9%) plots. Nest predators also differed as a function of prescribed fire. Avian predation of nests was greater in burned (13.7%) than nonburned (9.9%) plots, whereas small-mammal predation was greater in nonburned (30.9%) than in burned (15.1%) plots. Altering food and cover to manage nest success may result in compensatory predation. Further work to quantify the extent of compensatory predation is needed to fully understand trade-offs of various practices for managing nest predation.