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Providing evidence to improve practice

Action: Reduce nest predation by excluding predators from nests or nesting areas Bird Conservation

Key messages

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A 2011 systematic review found that excluding predators from nests significantly increased hatching success, although individual barriers around nests sometimes had adverse impacts.

See also: Physically protect nests from predators using non-electric fencingPhysically protect nests with individual exclosures/barriers or provide shelters for chicksProtect bird nests using electric fencingUse artificial nests that discourage predationGuard nests to prevent predationPlant nesting cover to reduce nest predationProtect nests from antsUse multiple barriers to protect nestsUse naphthalene to deter mammalian predatorsUse snakeskin to deter mammalian nest predatorsPlay spoken-word radio programs to deter predatorsUse 'cat curfews' to reduce predationUse lion dung to deter domestic catsUse mirrors to deter nest predatorsUse ultrasonic devices to deter catsCan nest protection increase nest abandonment?; and Can nest protection increase predation of adults and chicks?

Supporting evidence from individual studies


A 2011 systematic review (Smith et al. 2011) found that excluding predators using fences (see ‘Physically protect nests from predators using non-electric fencing’) or barriers around individual nests (‘Physically protect nests with individual exclosures/barriers’) significantly increased hatching success. Individual barriers appeared to be slightly (non-significantly) more effective than fences, but some studies found that they increased predation on adults (see ‘Can nest protection increase predation of adult and chick waders?’).


Referenced papers

Please cite as:

Williams, D.R., Child, M.F., Dicks, L.V., Ockendon, N., Pople, R.G., Showler, D.A., Walsh, J.C., zu Ermgassen, E.K.H.J. & Sutherland, W.J. (2019) Bird Conservation. Pages 141-290 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, N. Ockendon, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2019. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.