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VAN OOSTEN HH (2016) A pilot study into nest predators of ground nesting Meadow Pipits Anthus pratensis and European Stonechats Saxicola torquatus in Dutch dune grasslands. LIMOSA 89 (4): 179-184.

Predation constitutes the main reason why breeding attempts of songbirds fail. In spite of having a large effect on songbird reproduction, the identity of nest predators often remains unknown. I determined which animals depredate nests of ground-nesting Meadow Pipits and European Stonechats in calcareous grasslands in the Dutch coastal dunes. By using infra-red camera traps (trail cameras) I identified the predator at nine nests (four Meadow Pipit and four European Stonechat nests, and one Meadow Pipit nest parasitised by a Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus). In all cases Red Fox Vulpes vulpes was the predator. At three nests the predator was not recorded by the camera traps with certainty, although twice a Red Fox may have been the predator. Alternatively, these three predation events may have involved other predator species (small mammals or Carrion Crow Corvus corone) which possibly are less likely to be detected by the camera trap. Nest success was higher for monitored European Stonechat nests compared to nests without a camera system, suggesting that predators may be frightened by the camera traps. This effect was not found for Meadow Pipits although the same setup was used. More data on nest predators will be collected in the coming years.

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limosa 89.4 2016
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