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Colin Bonnington, Kevin J. Gaston and Karl L. Evans Fearing the feline: domestic cats reduce avian fecundity through trait-mediated indirect effects that increase nest predation by other species Journal of Applied Ecology 50

Version of Record online: 30 JAN 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.12025

The brief presence of a domestic cat at avian nest sites reduces subsequent provisioning rates and induces lethal trait-mediated indirect effects. We provide the first robust evidence for these latter effects in any avian predator–prey system, although they are likely to be common in many avian assemblages with high predator densities. It is imperative that future assessments of the impact of predatory species on avian prey species take lethal trait-mediated indirect effects into account, as so doing will prevent biased estimates of predator effects and facilitate the design of more effective control strategies. Full mitigation of the sublethal and indirect effects of domestic cats would problematically require permanent indoor housing.

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