Data from: Nest association between two predators as a behavioral response to the low density of rodents
Pokrovsky, Ivan et al. (2020), Data from: Nest association between two predators as a behavioral response to the low density of rodents, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.73n5tb2s7
Many birds nest in association with aggressive birds of other species to benefit from their protection against predators. We hypothesized that the protective effect also could extend to foraging resources, whereby the resultant resource enriched habitats near a nest of aggressive raptors could be an alternative cause of associations between nesting bird species with non-overlapping foraging niches. In the Arctic, the Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus) and the Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) are 2 raptor species with non-overlapping food resources that have been reported to nest sometimes in close proximity. Since nesting Peregrine Falcons are very aggressive, they may protect the small rodent prey near their nests from predation, and Rough-legged Hawks could use these hot spots as a nesting territory. In 2 regions in low Arctic Russia we found that (1) the nesting territories of Peregrine Falcons were indeed enriched with small rodents as compared to control areas, (2) the probability of nest association between the 2 raptors increased when rodent abundance was generally low in the region where hawks did not use alternative prey, and (3) hawk reproductive success increased when nesting close to Peregrine Falcons. These results suggest that implications of aggressive nest site defense in birds in certain cases may involve more mechanisms than previously explored. A key ecological process in tundra, rodent population cycles, may explain the occurrence and adaptive significance of a specific behavior pattern, the nesting association between 2 raptor species.