Variation in song sparrow nest defense: Individual consistency and relationship to nest success

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Abstract

I studied nest defense in 53 female Song Sparrows (Melospiza melodia) on Mandarte Island, British Columbia, between 1994 and 1995. A total of 75 trials was conducted by presenting a Northwestern Crow (Corvus caurinus) and a Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) mount near nests during incubation. Female Song Sparrows spent more time perched close to the crow than the junco mount, and alarm called more often in the presence of the crow. Female responses were unrelated to their age and were not correlated with the subsequent success of their nests. Individuals female responses to the junco, but not the crow mount, in 1994 were significantly positively correlated with their responses in 1995. Individual responses to a predator model may not be consistent from year to year because of experiences with the live predators or the inherent variability of nest defense behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)282-289
Number of pages8
JournalCondor
Volume99
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology

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