March 6, 2014
Institute of Nature Conservation of the Polish Academy of Sciences
By comparing the fate of artificial nests close and far away from supplementary feeding sites located in the forest for ungulates, such as deer and wild boar, researchers found that those nests in the vicinity of feeding sites were depredated twice more. This “predation hotspot” effect extends far away from the feeding site itself: in a radius of 1-km the probability of nest survival is lowered. When accounting for all feeding sites in the study region, this would mean that in one fifth of the area ground-nesting birds will have little chance to see their eggs hatching. These sites attract not only deer and wild boar- the boar is also a nest predator-, but also corvids, rodents, bears and other species of nest predators, which are not the target of feeding. Therefore, this management practice comes into conflict with the conservation of ground-nesting birds, such as grouse species, which are declining worldwide.