Black-Capped Vireo Nest Predator Assemblage and Predictors for Nest Predation
Authors: T. J. Conkling, T. L. Pope, K. N. Smith, H. A. Mathewson, M. L. Morrison, R. N. Wilkins, and J. W. Cain, III
Nest predation is a major limiting factor for songbird productivity, including the federally endangered black-capped vireo (Vireo atricapilla). However, nest predator information is limited across the range of the black-capped vireo in central and southwest Texas. We monitored nests in 3 counties within the breeding range of black-capped vireos in Texas in 2008 and 2009 and used continuous recording digital video cameras to record predation events. We video-monitored 115 nests and documented 39 predation events by at least 9 predator species. Overall, we observed avian species (51%, n = 39), specifically brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater; n = 12), and snakes (26%, n = 39) as the most frequent nest predators. The estimated daily nest survival rate during the laying and incubation stage was 0.985 (95% CI = 0.967–0.993) and 0.944 (95% CI = 0.921–0.961) during the nestling stage. In addition, we analyzed models of predator specific nest predation using multinomial logistic regression. Effect of nest height on predation rate was significant for snakes; nest stage was significant for nests depredated by avian predators. By identifying and increasing our knowledge of nest predators and vegetation characteristics associated with greater risk of predation in multiple locations within the black-capped vireo’s range, we can effectively manage habitat to benefit recovery efforts of the species.
Conkling, T. J., T. L. Pope, K. N. Smith, H. A. Mathewson, M. L. Morrison, R. N. Wilkins, and J. W. Cain, III. 2012. Black-capped vireo nest predator assemblage and predictors for nest predation. Journal of Wildlife Management 76: on line. DOI:10.1002/jwmg.388.