Close to the edge: predation risks for two declining farmland passerines

Authors


  • Conflict of interests: The authors declare no conflict of interests.

*Corresponding author.
Email: tony.morris@rspb.org.uk

Abstract

Data on the breeding success of two crop-nesting passerines, Skylark Alauda arvensis and Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava, were collected in relation to linear features within and surrounding arable crops. Both species were found to experience high rates of nest predation with increased proximity to field boundaries, although the exact nature of the relationship differed with species and, in the case of Skylark, with boundary type. Most nest losses were attributable to predation. During 2006 video cameras deployed on Skylark nests showed that all recorded predation was by mammals of various species, and that these were most active in or around grass margins. The results suggest that further research is needed into ways of minimizing negative impacts of predation on Skylarks. Possible solutions discussed include concentrating Skylark Plots in the field centres away from grass margins and promoting Skylark Plots in fields without grass margins in future agri-environmental schemes.

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