weston-woodlandbirds-2018.pdf (1.66 MB)
Woodland birds and rural towns: artificial clutch survival in fragmented Box-Ironbark forests
journal contributionposted on 2018-01-01, 00:00 authored by Beau Meney, Shaun Cunningham, Mike WestonMike Weston, Desley WhissonDesley Whisson
Woodland birds are declining throughout the agricultural landscapes of south-eastern Australia, but the specific mechanisms driving these declines remain unclear. Reproductive failure via clutch depredation could conceivably contribute to these declines. Although site-scale habitat may influence the risk of clutch failure, larger-scale influences, such as whether a landscape contains a rural town or not (‘landscape type’), may also play a role. This study monitored artificial open-cup nests deployed in three pairs of the two landscape types and: 1) indexed clutch survival and predator assemblage; and 2) determined if clutch survival was influenced by landscape type and/or local habitat characteristics. High levels of clutch depredation were observed in both landscape types and for all landscapes, with no evidence to suggest that landscape type or habitat characteristics influenced clutch survival or the time-to-first-predator visit. Predator assemblage also was consistent between landscape types. Generalist avian predators were the most common egg predators. Such egg predators may be ubiquitous throughout the fragmented Box-Ironbark woodlands of south-eastern Australia.