The impact of grazing animals on nesting success of grassland passerines in farmland and natural habitats: a field experiment

Sky Lark (Alauda arvensis) Science Article 4


A study was made of the influence of trampling by grazing animals on the nesting success of real nests (meadow pipit, Anthus pratensis; water pipit, Anthus spinoletta; and skylark, Alauda arvensis) and simulated nests (caps from jam-jars filled by green plasticine) on pasture in the Orlicke Mountains and on unmanaged alpine meadows in the Jeseniky Mountains (Czech Republic, Central Europe). While the pasture was continuously grazed by livestock at high densities, unmanaged alpine meadow was grazed only by wild large herbivores at far lower densities. Trampling was the primary cause of nest failure in the Orlicke Mountains, but was infrequent in the Jeseniky Mountains. The number of real nests lost by trampling corresponded to simulated nests within the localities. Spatial distribution of simulated nests had no effect on their survival on intensively grazed fields. The results indicate that grazing animals negatively influenced the nesting success of real and simulated nests of grassland passerines on continuously grazed mountain pasture. The use of simulated nests was an adequate method of predicting trampling losses by natural nests.

Vaclav Pavel, Folia Zool.- 53(2): 171-178 (2004)

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