Data from: Parent birds assess nest predation risk: influence of cavity condition and avian nest predator activity
Yoon, Jongmin et al. (2016), Data from: Parent birds assess nest predation risk: influence of cavity condition and avian nest predator activity, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.cr7s6
Skutch hypothesized that nest predators visually assess parental activities to locate a prey nest, whereas parents modify fitness-related traits to reduce the probability of nest predation. We examined how cavity condition and parental activity interact with avian nest predators to shape the nest success of two coexisting parid species, marsh tits Poecile palustris and oriental tits Parus minor, breeding in nest-boxes during the incubation period. Nest-boxes were manipulated to create a prolonged risk of nest predation (entrance diameter 2.6 cm control vs 5.5 cm treatment) soon after clutch completion. To measure changes in parental behavior, we also simultaneously simulated a pulsed risk of nest predation, using sound playbacks of a coexisting control bird and an avian nest predator. We found that the parent tits merely responded the pulsed risk, presumably due to an environment with high avian nest predator encounters, compared to the prolonged risk. Instead, both species spent more time on vigilance at the nest, only under prolonged risk conditions. The activity of corvids near the nest-box was higher in the marsh tit than that in oriental tits. This activity was also higher in the treatment nest box than that in the control nest-box. Nest predation during the incubation period was higher in marsh tits than in oriental tits, presumably due to higher and more plastic vigilance in oriental tits, compared to marsh tits. Our results highlight that the differences in cavity condition and parental activities at the nests of two coexisting non-excavators may contribute to differential nest predation by attracting avian nest predators.