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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Planted grains provide greater nest protection than alfalfa, irrigation ditch vegetation or natural cover types

Published source details

Jones R.E. & Hungerford K.E. (1972) Evaluation of Nesting Cover as Protection from Magpie Predation. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 36, 727-732


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Plant wild bird seed or cover mixture Bird Conservation

A replicated, controlled study from May-June in 1955-1958 in three treatment cover types and six natural (control) cover types in Idaho, USA (Jones & Hungerford 1972), found that artificial nests in some cover crops were less likely to be predated than those in other crops. Over ten days, 30% of nests in cereal crops or cattail Typha angustifolia, bulrush Scirpuss acutus or S. validus margins were predated, compared with 40% in alfalfa Medicago sativa and 80% in tall weeds, willows Salix spp., sagebrush Artemisia tridentate or downy chess Bromus tectorum. Overall, 52% of nests were destroyed within 10 days. Grain fields provided significantly greater protection (average ten ‘safe’ days and only 3% nests destroyed) compared to alfalfa and irrigation ditches (average of seven and five ‘safe’ days) or any control cover types. A total of 529 nests, each containing four eggs were placed randomly in cover types (32-68 nests/cover type).