Post dispersal weed seed predation by avian and non-avian predators
Holmes, R.J. and Froud-Williams, R.J. (2005) Post dispersal weed seed predation by avian and non-avian predators. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 105 (1-2). pp. 23-37. ISSN 0167-8809
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.agee.2004.06.005
Seed predation by avian and non-avian predators was quantified in the boundaries and cropped areas of cereal fields by presenting known quantities of seed with and without exclusion cages. Predator encounter-rates with the dishes exceeded 99%. Birds removed on average 6.7% seed from the dishes during the seven-day trials compared to 51% by non-avian predators. A comparison was made of the causal factors responsible for predation of Avena fatua, Chenopodium album and Cirsium arvense seeds. A. fatua seeds were preyed most heavily by both avian and non-avian predators. Seed removal by birds was greater in the cropped area than in the field boundary, non-avian predators being generally more active in the field boundary. Seed predation by birds was greater in spring than in any other season, whilst losses to other animals were greater during autumn and winter. Although, birds were not the main seed predators in cereal fields, they may contribute to weed seed depletion, of relevance to reduced-input farming systems where herbicides use is restricted.