18 June 2010

Filling in nest records cards keeps the weasel away

A study recently published in Journal of Avian Biology reveals that mammalian predators avoided Blackbird (Turdus merula) nest sites that were visited by investigators. As a result, nest predation by mammals was lower in those areas that were visited more often by the resarchers.
It is not the first time that a study has shown that Blackbird nesting success can benefit from human activity. Osborne and Osborne in 1980 showed that Blackbirds nesting closer to paths and buildings were more succesful in rearing young than others.
These ‘beneficial’ effects could be explained by the mammalian avoidance of recent human odours - however, as the study suggests, a broader array of species need to be studied.
In some cases, we all know that these scents can also explain the avoidance of the researcher by other mammals – especially those of the opposite sex! Although, of course, that is part of another research project altogether...
Source: Ibanez Alamo, J. 2010. Investigator activities reduce nest predation in Blackbirds Turdus merula. Avian Biol. 41: 208-212

1 comment:

  1. Years ago, doing nest record cards I used to routinely pee close to low and ground nests to keep foxes, cats and mustelids at bay.