Provision of nestboxes raises the breeding density of Great Tits Parus major equally in coniferous and deciduous woodland

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Abstract:

Nestbox provision is a technique used to increase nest-site availability for secondary cavity-nesting birds. However, little is known about the demographic consequences of nestbox provision in different habitat types. To assess how nestbox provision affects the density of hole-nesting birds simultaneously in two contrasting habitats, we compared the breeding density of Great Tits along transects without nestboxes with that in transects where nestboxes were provided. Although the initial density of breeders was considerably higher in the deciduous habitat than in the coniferous habitat, provision of nestboxes increased density by a similar number of additional pairs in each habitat type. Thus, the provision of nestboxes in managed coniferous forests may be as effective in increasing the breeding opportunities of cavity nesters as in deciduous stands. Moreover, previous research showed that pairs in deciduous habitat with nestboxes have consistently lower breeding success than those in coniferous habitat with nestboxes. It is possible that the addition of nestboxes in the preferred habitat increased density to such an extent that density-dependent effects became apparent.

Keywords: breeding success; cavity-nesters; ecological trap; habitat preference; habitat quality

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1474-919X.2009.00929.x

Affiliations: 1: Environmental Board, Pärnu-Viljandi Region, Saarde, Estonia 2: Department of Biological Sciences, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA, USA

Publication date: July 1, 2009

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