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Do human infrastructures shape nest distribution in the landscape depending on individual personality in a farmland bird of prey?

Citation

Rabdeau, Juliette et al. (2021), Do human infrastructures shape nest distribution in the landscape depending on individual personality in a farmland bird of prey?, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.wm37pvmns

Abstract

1. Individuals´ distribution across habitats may depend on their personality. Human activities and infrastructures are critical elements of the landscape that may impact the habitat selection process. However, depending on their personality, individuals may respond differently to these unnatural elements.

2. In the present study, we first investigated whether some human infrastructures (buildings, roads and paths) shaped Montagu’s harrier nest spatial distribution in the landscape according to female personality (boldness). Second, we tested if the reproductive success of females depended on their boldness and nest location regarding infrastructures.

3. Using a long-term (19 years) data set, we calculated the distance from each nest to the nearest infrastructure type and the density of each infrastructure type around the nest. We tested the effects of female boldness (bold vs. shy) and its interaction with egg-laying date on these six metrics.

4. Nest location in the landscape depended on female personality and on some human infrastructures: the building density was smaller around nests from shy females than from bold ones. Nest distribution related to other infrastructure metrics did not depend on female boldness. The pattern related to building density is consistent with some habitat choice hypotheses which are discussed. Path density around nests negatively affected reproductive success regardless of female boldness, and late breeders nested further away from paths than early breeders. Human activities on paths (more common later in the season) could lead to disturbance and a decrease in parental care, reducing reproductive success.

5. Increasing human presence in farmlands implies a need to better understand its impact on population composition, in terms of personality. Our results suggest that individual behavioural differences should be taken into account in studies assessing the effects of human disturbance on animal populations, to propose more appropriate conservation measures.

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