Nestbox orientation: a species-specific influence on occupation and breeding success in woodland passerines

Goodenough, Anne E and Maitland, David P and Hart, Adam G and Elliot, Simon L (2008) Nestbox orientation: a species-specific influence on occupation and breeding success in woodland passerines. Bird Study, 55 (2). pp. 222-232. ISSN 0006-3657

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Abstract

Capsule Nestbox orientation has species-specific influences on nestbox occupation and breeding success for woodland passerines. Aims To determine if nestbox orientation had an influence upon nestbox selection or breeding success for three co-occurring woodland passerines. Methods We analysed 15 consecutive years of breeding data (1990–2004) from 295 nestboxes in the UK using circular statistical analyses to examine the influence of orientation upon nestbox occupation and breeding success for three species, Blue Tit Cyanistes caeruleus, Great Tit Parus major and Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca. Results The three species used nestboxes of all orientations during the 15-year period. The frequency of nestbox occupation by Great Tits correlated with orientation (the mean number of nests in boxes oriented south-southwest was lower than the mean number of nests in boxes facing other directions). There was no such relationship for Blue Tits or Pied Flycatchers. Nestbox orientation influenced the breeding success of Pied Flycatcher (the mean number of young to fledge from boxes oriented south-southwest was lower than from boxes facing other directions). There was no such relationship for Blue or Great Tits. Conclusion Nestbox orientation can be an important influence on occupation and breeding success, but this differed between species. Intriguingly, although the directionality reduced nestbox occupation (Great Tit) and breeding success (Pied Flycatcher) was the same (south-southwest), there was a disparity in the influence of orientation for Great Tit (orientation influenced the frequency of occupation but not success) and Pied Flycatcher (orientation did not influence occupation but did affect success). We discuss these disparities, considering the possible influences of mating strategy, breeding phenology, nestbox microclimate and offspring quality.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Behavioural ecology, Population biology, Reproduction, Nest-site selection, Circular statistics
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Natural & Social Sciences > Environmental Sciences
Research Priority Areas: Environmental Dynamics & Governance
Depositing User: Anne Goodenough
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2016 14:04
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2016 06:15
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/3322

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