The implications of nest site competition from starlings Sturnus vulgaris and the effect of spring temperatures on the timing and breeding performance of great spotted woodpeckers

Starling with prey

Starling with prey

Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) Science Article 2


A long-term study of the breeding success of an increasing population of great spotted woodpeckers in southern England has shown that nest survival has increased dramatically and the nesting season advanced over the last 20 years. Nest site interference by starlings was frequently observed in the early years of the study and was thought to be the main cause of the low nest survival and delayed nesting. Starling numbers have now declined to such an extent that they no longer nest in the study woods and nest site interference does not now occur. Great spotted woodpeckers are increasing in Britain and the reduction in nest site competition from starlings may be one of the factors contributing to this increase.

Smith, K. W. 2006, Ann. Zool. Fennici 43: 177-185

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