Artificial Nests, Their Predators, and Their Ability to Represent Real Nests

Publication Date


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Science in Biology



Major Advisor

Rex Sallabanks


Research on songbirds has flourished during the last decade, primarily in response to data from the North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS), which suggest apparent population declines for numerous bird species, especially those in the eastern United States (Sauer and Droege 1992, Peterjohn, Sauer, and Robbins 1995). Increased rates of nest predation, together with brood parasitism by brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater) , often have been blamed as the proximate mechanisms behind these population declines (e.g., Faaborg, Thompson, Robinson, Donovan, Whitehead, and Brawn 1998). Indeed, many eastern studies have found nest predation (Martin 1993a, 1993b, Howlett and Stutchbury 1996) and brood parasitism (Brittingham and Temple 1983) to be highly related to nest success of songbirds. In the eastern United States, habitat fragmentation typically has been identified as the driving force behind changes in numbers of predators and cowbirds (Ambuel and Temple 1983, Wilcove 1985, Robinson 1992, Donovan, Thompson, Faaborg, and Probst 1995, Van Horn, Gentry, and Faaborg 1995, Robinson, Thompson, Donovan, Whitehead, and Faaborg 1995,Sallabanks, Walters, and Collazo, in press).

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