, Volume 159, Issue 3, pp 669–678 | Cite as

Maternal and individual effects in selection of bed sites and their consequences for fawn survival at different spatial scales

  • Bram Van Moorter
  • Jean-Michel Gaillard
  • Philip D. McLoughlin
  • Daniel Delorme
  • François Klein
  • Mark S. Boyce
Behavioral Ecology - Original Paper


We examined the relationship between survival of roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) fawns at Trois Fontaines, Champagne-Ardennes, France, and factors related to bed-site selection (predator avoidance and thermoregulation) and maternal food resources (forage availability in the maternal home range). Previous studies have demonstrated that at small scales, the young of large herbivores select bed sites independently from their mothers, although this selection takes place within the limits of their mother’s home range. Fawn survival was influenced largely by the availability of good bed sites within the maternal home range, not by the fawn’s selection of bed sites; however, selection for thermal cover when selecting bed sites positively influenced survival of young fawns. Typical features of a good home range included close proximity to habitat edges, which is related to forage accessibility for roe deer. The availability of bed sites changed as fawns aged, probably due to an increased mobility of the fawn or a different use of the home range by the mother; sites offering high concealment and thermal protection became less available in favor of areas with higher forage accessibility. Despite the minor influence of bed-site selection on survival, roe deer fawns strongly selected their bed sites according to several environmental factors linked to predator avoidance and thermoregulation. Fawns selected for sites providing concealment, light penetration, and avoided signs of wild boar (Sus scrofa) activity. Avoidance of sites with high light penetration by young fawns positively affected their survival, confirming a negative effect on thermoregulation due to reduced thermal cover. Selection for light penetration by older fawns was less clear. We discuss these results in the context of cross-generational effects in habitat selection across multiple scales, and the potential influence of the ‘ghost of predation past’.


Capreolus capreolus Habitat selection Predation Roe deer Predation 



B. V. M. was financially supported during this research by a research grant from the French Ministry of Research. This study has benefited from financial support by the GICC2 program and by the Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune Sauvage (ONCFS). We want to thank all professionals, and especially all volunteers, who spent their time in the field to find as many fawns as possible. The data were collected within a larger ongoing research project of the ONCFS; as a research institute of the French government they adhere to all legal regulations in France. For their constructive ideas and suggestions we want to thank all members of the GROS and the GRhAS. Finally, we thank Petter Kjellander for his valuable comments on an earlier version of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bram Van Moorter
    • 1
    • 5
  • Jean-Michel Gaillard
    • 1
  • Philip D. McLoughlin
    • 2
  • Daniel Delorme
    • 3
  • François Klein
    • 3
  • Mark S. Boyce
    • 4
  1. 1.Unité Mixte de Recherche no. 5558 Biométrie et Biologie Evolutive, Bâtiment 711Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1Villeurbanne CedexFrance
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  3. 3.Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune SauvageCentre National d’Etudes et de Recherches Appliquées Cervidés-SanglierBar-le-DucFrance
  4. 4.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  5. 5.Department of BiologyNTNUTrondheimNorway

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