Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 151, Issue 4, pp 791–795 | Cite as

Effects of the risk of competition and predation on large secondary cavity breeders

Original article

Abstract

The effects of competition and risk of predation on secondary cavity breeders were examined between the 2008 and 2009 breeding seasons using an experimental design manipulating two nest entrance sizes (large entrances allowed Barn Owls (Tyto alba) to enter, while the small entrances excluded them). During the 2009 breeding season, the entrance sizes of nest boxes were exchanged, so that if during one year a nest box in a particular location had a small entrance, the second year it had a large entrance and vice versa. Barn Owls and Eurasian Kestrels (Falco tinnunculus) occupied 67.3 and 17.3%, respectively, of large entrance nest boxes. Significantly more Jackdaws (Corvus monedula), House Sparrows (Passer domesticus) and Scops Owls (Otus scops) bred in nest boxes with small than with large entrances. After nest box entrance sizes were exchanged, Barn Owls and smaller species did not breed in the same nest boxes with the new entrance size. Jackdaws probably did not breed in large entrance nest boxes due both to exploitation competition (Barn Owls and Eurasian Kestrels occupied the majority of large entrance nest boxes), and may also have avoided empty nest boxes because of the risk of interference competition; whereas smaller species may have also avoided large entrance nest boxes due to risk of predation.

Keywords

Exploitation competition Interference competition Predation risk Nest occupation Cavity nest sites 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Special thanks to Amir Ezer and Shay Halevi for assistance in the field and to Naomi Paz for editorial assistance.

References

  1. Barba E, Gil-Delgado JA (1990) Competition for nest-boxes among four vertebrate species: an experimental study in orange groves. Ecography 13:183–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bechard MJ, Bechard JM (1996) Competition for nest boxes between American Eurasian kestrels and European starlings in an agricultural area of southern Idaho. In: Bird DM, Varland DE, Negro JJ (eds) Raptors in human landscapes. Academic, San Diego, California, pp 155–161Google Scholar
  3. Browne SJ (2006) Effect of nestbox construction and colour on the occupancy and breeding success of nesting tits Parus spp. Bird Study 53:187–192CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Burger GV (1969) Response of gray squirrels to nest boxes at Remington Farms, Maryland. J Wildl Manag 33:796–801CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Carlson A, Sandstrom U, Olsson K (1998) Availability and use of natural tree holes by cavity nesting birds in a Swedish deciduous forest. Ardea 86:109–119Google Scholar
  6. Charter M, Izhaki I, Bouskila A, Leshem Y (2007a) The effect of different nest types on the breeding success of Eurasian kestrels (Falco tinnunculus) in a rural ecosystem. J Raptor Res 41:143–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Charter M, Izhaki I, Shapira L, Leshem Y (2007b) Diets of urban breeding barn owls (Tyto Alba) in Tel Aviv, Israel. Wilson J Ornithol 119:484–485CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Charter M, Izhaki I, Meyrom K, Motro Y, Leshem Y (2009) Diets of barn owls differ in the same agricultural region. Wilson J Ornithol 121:378–383Google Scholar
  9. Dhondt AA, Eyckerman R (1980) Competition and the regulation of numbers in great and blue tits. Ardea 68:121–132Google Scholar
  10. Génot JC, Van Nieuwehuyse D (2002) Athene noctua little owl. BWP Update 4:1–29Google Scholar
  11. Gustafsson L (1988) Inter- and intraspecific competition for nest-entrances in a population of the collared flycatcher icedula albicollis. Ibis 130:11–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hakkarainen H, Korpimäki E (1996) Competitive and predatory interactions among raptors: an observational and experimental study. Ecology 77:1134–1142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Ingold DJ (1994) Influence of nest-site competition between European starlings and woodpeckers. Wilson Bull 106:227–241Google Scholar
  14. Kempenaers B, Dhondt AA (1991) Competition between blue and great tit for roosting sites in winter: an aviary experiment. Ornis Scand 22:73–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Korpimäki E (1987) Dietary shifts, niche relationships and reproductive output of coexisting Eurasian kestrels and long-eared owls. Oecologia 74:277–285CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Krüger O (2002) Interactions between common buzzard Buteo buteo and goshawk Accipiter gentilis: trade-offs revealed by a field experiment. Oikos 96:441–452CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lima S, Dill LM (1990) Behavioral decisions made under the risk of predation: a review and prospectus. Can J Zool 68:619–640CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Löhrl H (1977) Nistökologische und ethologische Anpassungserscheinungen bei Höhlenbrütern. Vogelwarte 29:92–101Google Scholar
  19. Martens JAL (1977) Thermal conditions for successful breeding in great tits (Parus major). II. Thermal properties of nest and their importance for range of temperature tolerance in Great Tit broods. Oecologia 28:31–56Google Scholar
  20. Mátics R, Bank L, Varga S, Klein A, Hoffmann G (2008) Interspecific offspring killing in owls. Biol J Linn Soc 95:488–494CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Maurer BA (1984) Interference and exploitation in bird communities. Wilson Bull 96:380–395Google Scholar
  22. Menge BA, Sutherland JP (1976) Species diversity gradients: synthesis of the roles of predation, competition, and temporally heterogeneity. Am Nat 110:351–369CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Merilä J, Wiggins DA (1995) Interspecific competition for nest entrances causes adult mortality in the collared flycatcher. Condor 97:445–450CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Meyrom K, Motro Y, Leshem Y, Aviel S, Izhaki I, Argyle F, Charter M (2009) Nest-box use by the barn owl Tyto alba in a biological pest control program in the Beit She’an valley, Israel. In: Johnson DH, Van Nieuwenhuyse D, Duncan JR (eds) Proc. Fourth World Owl Conf. Oct–Nov 2007, Groningen, The Netherlands. Ardea 97: 97–101Google Scholar
  25. Nilsson IN (1984) Prey weight, food overlap, and reproductive output of potentially competing long-eared and tawny owls. Ornis Scand 15:176–182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Pokines JT, Peterhans JK (1997) Barn owls Tyto alba taphonomy in the Negev Desert, Israel. Isr J Zool 43:19–27Google Scholar
  27. Rhodes B, O’donnell C, Jamieson I (2009) Microclimate of natural cavity nests and its implications for a threatened secondary-cavity-nesting passerine of New Zealand, the South Island saddleback. Condor 111(3):462–469CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Roulin A (2002) Tyto alba barn owl. BWP Update 4:115–138Google Scholar
  29. Sarà M, Milazzo A, Falletta W, Bellia E (2005) Exploitation competition between entrance-nesters (Muscardinus avellanarius, Mammalia and Parus caeruleus, Aves) in Mediterranean woodlands. J Zool 265:347–357CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Schoener TW (1983) Field experiments on interspecific competition. Am Nat 102:240–285CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Sih S, Crowley P, McPeek M, Petranka J, Strohmeier K (1985) Predation, competition, and prey communities: a review of field experiments. Annu Rev Ecol Systemat 16:269–311CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Steenhof K (1987) Assessing raptor reproductive success and productivity. In: Giron Pendleton BA, Millsap BA, Cline KW, Bird DM (eds) Raptor management techniques manual. Natl. Wildl. Fed, Washington, DC, pp 157–170Google Scholar
  33. Tores M, Yom-Tov Y (2003) The diet of the barn owl (Tyto alba) in the Negev Desert. Isr J Zool 49:233–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Tores M, Motro Y, Motro U, Yom-Tov Y (2005) The barn owl—a selective opportunist predator. Isr J Zool 51:349–360CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Weigl PD (1978) Resource overlap, interspecific interactions and the distribution of the flying squirrels, Glaucomys volans and G. sabrinus. Am Midl Nat 100:83–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Yom-Tov Y, Wool D (1997) Do the contents of barn owl pellets accurately represent the proportion of prey species in the field? Condor 99:972–976CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Zuberogoitia I, Martínez JA, Zabala J, Martínez JF (2005) Interspecific aggression and nest site competition in a European owl community. J Raptor Res 39:156–159Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Zoology DepartmentTel-Aviv UniversityTel-AvivIsrael
  2. 2.Department of Evolutionary and Environmental BiologyUniversity of HaifaHaifaIsrael

Personalised recommendations