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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Lesser kestrels Falco naumanni lay earlier if provided with supplementary food

Published source details

Aparicio J.M. & Bonal R. (2002) Effects of food supplementation and habitat selection on timing of lesser kestrel breeding. Ecology, 83, 873-877


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Provide supplementary food for raptors to increase reproductive success Bird Conservation

A replicated, randomised, controlled study from February-March in 1999 in 2 mixed experimental and control lesser kestrel Falco naumanni colonies, 2 full experimental and 3 full control colonies within an agricultural landscape in La Mancha, Spain (Aparicio & Bonal 2002) found that lesser kestrels provided with food initiated clutch laying earlier than non-supplemented nests or colonies. In mixed colonies, fed pairs laid earlier than unfed ones by 5.8 days on average. There was no significant difference in mean laying date between unfed pairs of mixed colonies and pairs in all-unfed colonies, or between fed pairs of mixed colonies and pairs in all-fed colonies. Additionally, laying date was significantly earlier in all-fed than in all-unfed colonies by 5.7 days on average. The authors suggest, therefore, that laying date is restricted by food availability and is not confounded by individual quality. Extra food consisted of day-old cockerel chicks (35–40 g) placed within each experimental nest.