Nest-sites, breeding failure, and causes of non-breeding in a population of British marsh tits Poecile palustris

Broughton, Richard K.; Hill, Ross A.; Bellamy, Paul E.; Hinsley, Shelley A.. 2011 Nest-sites, breeding failure, and causes of non-breeding in a population of British marsh tits Poecile palustris. Bird Study, 58 (3). 229-237.

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Capsule: Choice of nest-site appeared flexible and the rate of breeding failure was low, but some birds did not reach the nesting stage. Aims: To analyse nest-site selection and its effect on nest predation and establish the rate of breeding failure. Methods: We used vegetation sample plots to assess the nest-site resource and established the fate of birds in 153 territories and 134 nests over seven years. The fate of 30 nests from neighbouring woods was also determined. Results: Most nests were situated 0–4 m high in knotholes in live, medium-sized Common Ash trees. Overall, birds in 12.4% of occupied spring territories did not reach the nesting stage, primarily because of an absence of females, and 16.4% of nests in the same population were not successful. The nest failure rate was 18.4% across a wider population, which included neighbouring woods, primarily because of nest predation. Conclusion: Marsh Tits were flexible in their choice of nest-site with low rates of nest competition and predation. Nest failure is unlikely to be a significant factor in the decline of British Marsh Tits but failure to reach the nesting stage may be an additional pressure.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biodiversity > BD Topic 2 - Ecological Processes in the Environment > BD - 2.4 - Estimate the impact of the main drivers and pressures on biodiversity ...
CEH Sections/Science Areas: Pywell
ISSN: 0006-3657
Additional Keywords: marsh tit, nest, predation, Poecile palustris
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Related URLs:
Date made live: 01 Aug 2011 16:03 +0 (UTC)

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