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Symbiotic nesting of birds with formidable animals: a review with applications to biodiversity conservation

Symbiotic nesting of birds with formidable animals: a review with applications to biodiversity... Increased predation and parasitism of bird nests has become a major problem in many biological communities altered by human activities, often causing declines in bird populations. To help solve this threat to biodiversity, I propose restoring the abundance of symbiotic nest-protecting animals in habitats where birds face an increased risk from predators and parasites, so that birds there can increase their chances of reproductive success by nesting close to these protectors. The re-establishment of such protective nesting associations to increase avian reproductive success differs from other proposed solutions to this problem in that it involves point defense of bird nests themselves. Rather than diminishing the number of nest predators and brood parasites in the whole habitat or community, as proposed with other approaches, the presence, activity and success of these enemies are reduced only within the microhabitat defended by the protector. The animal protecting the nest need not be larger in size than the predators or brood parasites, and is often many times smaller. In addition, it need not be from a higher trophic position, and in many cases comes from the same or a lower trophic level. Research suggests that an informed and careful use of nest protecting animals by wildlife managers can help reverse or prevent the decline of many bird populations, especially when used in combination with other approaches such as restoration of top predator populations and habitats. Although wildlife biologists have long recognized the important role that plants play in concealing and protecting bird nests from enemies, and regularly recommend manipulation of vegetation to enhance nest survival, they have generally ignored the important role that formidable animals play in protecting bird nests, and failed to incorporate animal protectors into management strategies. Because of this neglect, a host of new studies and experiments are urgently needed to provide managers with the critical information needed to use protective nesting associations effectively in integrated strategies to preserve avian biodiversity. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Biodiversity and Conservation Springer Journals

Symbiotic nesting of birds with formidable animals: a review with applications to biodiversity conservation

Biodiversity and Conservation , Volume 10 (4) – Oct 19, 2004

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References (162)

Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2001 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
Subject
Life Sciences; Evolutionary Biology; Tree Biology; Plant Sciences
ISSN
0960-3115
eISSN
1572-9710
DOI
10.1023/A:1016654326822
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Increased predation and parasitism of bird nests has become a major problem in many biological communities altered by human activities, often causing declines in bird populations. To help solve this threat to biodiversity, I propose restoring the abundance of symbiotic nest-protecting animals in habitats where birds face an increased risk from predators and parasites, so that birds there can increase their chances of reproductive success by nesting close to these protectors. The re-establishment of such protective nesting associations to increase avian reproductive success differs from other proposed solutions to this problem in that it involves point defense of bird nests themselves. Rather than diminishing the number of nest predators and brood parasites in the whole habitat or community, as proposed with other approaches, the presence, activity and success of these enemies are reduced only within the microhabitat defended by the protector. The animal protecting the nest need not be larger in size than the predators or brood parasites, and is often many times smaller. In addition, it need not be from a higher trophic position, and in many cases comes from the same or a lower trophic level. Research suggests that an informed and careful use of nest protecting animals by wildlife managers can help reverse or prevent the decline of many bird populations, especially when used in combination with other approaches such as restoration of top predator populations and habitats. Although wildlife biologists have long recognized the important role that plants play in concealing and protecting bird nests from enemies, and regularly recommend manipulation of vegetation to enhance nest survival, they have generally ignored the important role that formidable animals play in protecting bird nests, and failed to incorporate animal protectors into management strategies. Because of this neglect, a host of new studies and experiments are urgently needed to provide managers with the critical information needed to use protective nesting associations effectively in integrated strategies to preserve avian biodiversity.

Journal

Biodiversity and ConservationSpringer Journals

Published: Oct 19, 2004

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