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The Center for Native Grasslands Management

Title: Elevated rates of predation on artificial nests in linear strips of habitat
Year: 1999
Author(s): Major, R. E., Christie, F. J., Gowing, G., Ivison, T. J.
Source Title: Journal of Field Ornithology
Source Type: Journal
pages: 351-364
Original Publication: http://  
Abstract: Artificial nests monitored with automatically triggered cameras were used to determine the intensity of nest predation and the identity of nest predators in linear remnants and large remnants of woodland in the wheatbelt of New South Wales, Australia. Nests were constructed from wire, grass, and bark to mimic those of the Red-capped Robin (Petroica goodenovii) and were stocked with eggs made from modelling clay. The incidence of predation was significantly higher in linear remnants (62% predation) than in large remnants (34%). Forty-seven independent photographic events were recorded, and nine species of bird accounted for all predation. Two species of predator, the Grey Shrike-thrush (Colluricincla harmonica) and the Grey Butcherbird (Cracticus torquatus), were responsible for 70% of predation and were detected at nests in both linear and large remnants. The remaining seven species of predator were detected only at nests in linear remnants. Bird surveys conducted in the same sites revealed that of the species of predator identified from photographs all, with two exceptions, were present in both linear remnants and large remnants. However, the abundance of identified predators was significantly higher in linear remnants. This study suggests that linear strips of vegetation, despite providing habitat in which birds can live, or a conduit through which they can move, may have limited value as breeding habitat. The current enthusiasm for protection and creation of corridors should not be at the expense of restoration and sympathetic management of large areas of native vegetation.