Songbird nest survival is invariant to early-successional restoration treatments in a large river floodplain
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The Wilson Journal of Ornithology. 122(2): 307-317.
We monitored songbird nest survival in two reforesting, ∼50-ha former cropland sites along the Missouri River in central Missouri from 2001 to 2003. Sites were partitioned into three experimental units, each receiving one of three tree planting treatments. Nest densities varied among restoration treatments for four of five species, but overall nest survival rates did not. Nest survival varied with day-of-year and with incidence of brood parasitism by Brown-headed Cowbirds (Molothrus ater). Nest survival was higher early and late in the season, and parasitized nests experienced lower nest survival, despite few complete losses directly attributable to parasitism. Probability of parasitism was inversely related to distance to the nearest tree, and was much lower than in old field study sites in the same region. High cowbird parasitism frequencies are usually associated with landscapes low in forest cover, yet these sites in an agriculturally-dominated bottomland landscape experienced low (∼0.8-24%) cowbird parasitism. The assumed negative relationship between landscape-level forest cover and cowbird parasitism needs further study in habitats other than forest.
Burhans, Dirk E.; Root, Brian G.; Shaffer, Terry L.; Dey, Daniel C. 2010. Songbird nest survival is invariant to early-successional restoration treatments in a large river floodplain. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology. 122(2): 307-317.