Predators of Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata nests in southern England as determined by digital nest cameras
Stevens, D. K., Anderson, G. Q. A., Grice, P. V., Norris, K. and Butcher, N. (2008) Predators of Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata nests in southern England as determined by digital nest cameras. Bird Study, 55. pp. 179-187. ISSN 0006-3657
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1080/00063650809461520
Capsule Avian predators are principally responsible. Aims To document the fate of Spotted Flycatcher nests and to identify the species responsible for nest predation. Methods During 2005-06, purpose-built, remote, digital nest-cameras were deployed at 65 out of 141 Spotted Flycatcher nests monitored in two study areas, one in south Devon and the second on the border of Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. Results Of the 141 nests monitored, 90 were successful (non-camera nests, 49 out of 76 successful, camera nests, 41 out of 65). Fate was determined for 63 of the 65 nests monitored by camera, with 20 predation events documented, all of which occurred during daylight hours. Avian predators carried out 17 of the 20 predations, with the principal nest predator identified as Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius. The only mammal recorded predating nests was the Domestic Cat Felis catus, the study therefore providing no evidence that Grey Squirrels Sciurus carolinensis are an important predator of Spotted Flycatcher nests. There was no evidence of differences in nest survival rates at nests with and without cameras. Nest remains following predation events gave little clue as to the identity of the predator species responsible. Conclusions Nest-cameras can be useful tools in the identification of nest predators, and may be deployed with no subsequent effect on nest survival. The majority of predation of Spotted Flycatcher nests in this study was by avian predators, principally the Jay. There was little evidence of predation by mammalian predators. Identification of specific nest predators enhances studies of breeding productivity and predation risk.