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Data from: Integrated population model reveals that Kestrels breeding in nest boxes operate as a source population

Citation

Fay, Rémi; Michler, Stephanie; Laesser, Jacques; Schaub, Michael (2019), Data from: Integrated population model reveals that Kestrels breeding in nest boxes operate as a source population, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.4152128

Abstract

The identification of the source-sink status of a population is critical for the establishment of conservation plans and enacting smart management decisions. We developed an integrated population model to formally assess the source status of a kestrel Falco tinnunculus population breeding in nest boxes in Switzerland. We estimated juvenile and adult survival, reproduction and net dispersal (emigration/immigration) by jointly analyzing capture-recapture, dead recovery, breeding monitoring and population survey data. We also investigated the role of nest boxes on kestrel demography and assessed the contributions of vital rates to realized population growth rates. The results indicate that the kestrel population breeding in nest boxes has acted as a source over the 15 years of the study duration. A quantitative approach suggests that a substantial number of individuals have emigrated annually from this population likely affecting the population dynamics outside the management area. Variation in fecundity explained 34% of the temporal variability of the population growth rate. Moreover, a literature review suggests that kestrel pairs produce on average 1.4 chicks more per breeding attempt in nest boxes compared to natural open nests. Together, these findings suggest that fecundity was an important driver for the dynamics of this population and that nest boxes have contributed to its raise. Nest boxes are regularly used as an efficient tool for conservation management. We suggest that such a conservation action can result in the establishment of a source population being beneficial for populations both inside and outside the managed area.

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