Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Predation of adult piping plovers Charadrius melodus near nests protected by predator exclosure cages in the northern Great Plains of Alberta and Saskatchewan, Canada, and North Dakota and Montana, USA

Published source details

Murphy R.K., Michaud I.M.G., Prescott D.R.C., Ivan J.S., Anderson B.J. & French-Pombier M.L. (2003) Predation on adult piping plovers at predator exclosure cages. Waterbirds, 26, 150-155

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Can nest protection increase predation of adults and chicks? Bird Conservation

A replicated, controlled study from 1993-2002 at five alkali lakes in Alberta and Saskatchewan (Canada), Montana and North Dakota, USA (Murphy et al. 2003) found that adult piping plovers Charadrius melodus were more likely to be predated if their nests were protected by exclosures (5% of 1,355 nests suffering mortality) than if their nests were unprotected (no adults predated at 420 nests). Predation rates were highest (up to 48%) at sites with 4–15% tree cover within 2 km of the nests and zero in areas with few trees (across the study period, 393 nests monitored). At one site, when small (1-1.7 m diameter) exclosures were replaced with large (3-4 m diameter) ones with netting tops, predation rate fell from 34% in 1999 (55 nests) to 11% in 2000 (39 nests) In areas where large cages only were used, predation rates were 0.7% (303 nests). Most (78%) losses were to raptors.