1. bookVolume 29 (2021): Issue 2 (December 2021)
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
2061-9588
First Published
08 Oct 2013
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
Languages
English
access type Open Access

The orientation of nestboxes influences their occupation rates and the breeding success of passerine birds

Published Online: 29 Nov 2021
Page range: 107 - 121
Received: 03 Nov 2021
Accepted: 08 Nov 2021
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
2061-9588
First Published
08 Oct 2013
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
Languages
English
Abstract

Nestboxes are widely provided as nesting sites for hole-nesting birds, yet the relative contribution of nestbox characteristics and habitat quality in determining the occupancy rates and breeding success of birds remains unclear. We provided nestboxes in deciduous woodlands in England and examined if those nestboxes were erected in random orientations and whether the orientation of nestboxes and habitat quality, in the form of tree density, influenced their occupation by, and breeding success of, Blue Tits (Cyanistes caeruleus), Great Tits (Parus major) and Pied Flycatchers (Ficedula hypoleuca). We found that first, the nestboxes were erected non-randomly orientated towards the north and east, and away from the south and west. Second, the occupation rates of none of the species was related to nestbox orientation or tree density. Third, the breeding success of neither Blue Tits nor Great Tits varied with tree density but did vary with nestbox orientation. Blue Tit hatching success and fledging success was higher in nestboxes facing south than in other directions whilst in Great Tits, clutch sizes, hatching success and fledging success was higher in nestboxes facing south than nestboxes facing other directions. Our results suggest that nestbox characteristics, such as orientation, have more influence on the reproductive success of passerines than habitat quality. This further suggests that conservationists should orientate nestboxes southwards in order to maximise their benefit to birds in temperate climates during the breeding season.

Keywords

Ardia, D. R., Pérez, J. H. & Clotfelter, E. D. 2006. Nestbox orientation affects internal temperature and nest site selection by Tree Swallows. – Journal of Field Ornithology 77(3): 339–344. DOI: 10.1111/j.1557-9263.2006.00064.x10.1111/j.1557-9263.2006.00064.x Search in Google Scholar

Avilés, S. M., Sánchez, J. M. & Parejo, D. 2000. Nest-site selection and breeding success in the Roller (Coracias garrulus) in the Southwest of the Iberian peninsula. – Journal of Ornithology 141(3): 345–350. DOI: 10.1007/BF0246224410.1007/BF02462244 Search in Google Scholar

Bellrose, F. C., Johnson, K. L. & Meyers, T. U. 1964. Relative value of natural cavities and nesting houses for Wood Ducks. – Journal of Wildlife Management 28(4): 661–676. DOI: 10.2307/379878110.2307/3798781 Search in Google Scholar

Belles-Isles, J. C. & Picman, J. 1986. Nesting losses and nest preferences in House Wrens. – Condor 88(4): 483–486. DOI: 10.2307/136827510.2307/1368275 Search in Google Scholar

Bloom, P. H. & Hawks, S. J. 1983. Nest box use and reproductive biology of American Kestrel in Lassen County, California. – Raptor Research 17(1): 9–14. Search in Google Scholar

Briggs, K. B. & Deeming, D. C. 2016. Use of materials in nest construction by Pied Flycatchers Ficedula hypoleuca reflects localised habitat and geographical location. – Bird Study 63(4): 516–524. DOI: 10.1080/00063657.2016.123886710.1080/00063657.2016.1238867 Search in Google Scholar

Briggs, K. B. & Deeming, D. C. 2021. Localized habitat affects size and materials used in the construction of Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus nests. – Bird Study 68(1): 9–20. DOI: 10.1080/00063657.2021.195819710.1080/00063657.2021.1958197 Search in Google Scholar

Briggs, K. B. & Mainwaring, M. C. 2017. Habitat geology influences intraspecific variation in the speckling patterns of Blue Tit Cyanistes caeruleus and Great Tit Parus major eggs. – Acta Ornithologica 52(1): 11–20. DOI: 10.3161/00016454AO2017.52.1.00210.3161/00016454AO2017.52.1.002 Search in Google Scholar

Briggs, K. B. & Mainwaring, M. C. 2019. Experimental evidence of non-random nest material selection in Pied Flycatchers. – Behavioural Processes 164: 59–64. DOI: 10.1016/j.beproc.2019.04.00810.1016/j.beproc.2019.04.008 Search in Google Scholar

Browne, S. J. 2006. Effect of nestbox construction and colour on the occupancy and breeding success of nesting tits Parus spp. – Bird Study 53(2): 187–192. DOI: 10.1080/0006365060946143210.1080/00063650609461432 Search in Google Scholar

Butler, M. W., Whitman, B. A. & Dufty, A. M. Jr. 2009. Nest box temperature and hatching success of American Kestrels varies with nest box orientation. – Wilson Journal of Ornithology 121(4): 778–782. DOI: 10.1676/08-124.110.1676/08-124.1 Search in Google Scholar

Charter, M., Meyrom, K., Leshem, Y., Aviel, S., Izhaki, I. & Motro, Y. 2010. Does nest box location and orientation affect occupation rate and breeding success of Barn Owls in a semi-arid environment? – Acta Ornithologica 45(1): 115–119. DOI: 10.3161/000164510X51616410.3161/000164510X516164 Search in Google Scholar

Cramp, S. & Perrins, C. M. 1993. The birds of the Western Palearctic, Vol. 7: Flycatchers to Shrikes. – Oxford University Press, Oxford Search in Google Scholar

Crawley, M. J. 1993. GLIM for Ecologist. – Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford Search in Google Scholar

Culina, A., Adriaensen, F., Bailey, L. D., Burgess, M. D., Charmantier, A., Cole, E. F., Eeva, T., Matthysen, E., Nater, C. R., Sheldon, B. C., Sæther, B-E., Vriend, S. J. G., Adamík, P., Aplin, L. M., Angulo, E., Artemyev, A., Barba, E., Barišić, S., Belda, E., Can Bilgin, C., Bleu, C., Both, C., Bouwhuis, S., Branston, C., Broggi, J., Burke, T., Bushuev, A., Camacho, C., Campobello, D., Canal, D., Cantarero, A., Caro, S. P., Cauchoix, M., Chaine, A., Cichoń, M., Ćiković, D., Cusimano, C. A., Deimel, C., Dhondt, A., Dingemanse, N. J., Doligez, B., Dominoni, D. M., Doutrelant, C., Drobniak, S. M., Dubiec, A., Eens, M., Erikstad, K. E., Espín, S., Farine, D. R., Figuerola, J., Gülbeyaz, P. K., Grégoire, A., Hartley, I. R., Hau, M., Hegyi, G., Hille, S., Hinde, C. A., Holtmann, B., Ilyina, T., Isaksson, C., Iserbyt, A., Ivankina, E., Kania, W., Kempenaers, B., Kerimov, A., Komdeur, J., Korsten, P., Král, M., Krist, M., Lambrechts, M., Lara, C. E., Leivits, A., Liker, A., Lodjak, J., Mägi, M., Mainwaring, M. C., Mänd, R., Massa, B., Massemin, S., Martínez-Padilla, J., Mazgajski, T. D., Mennerat, A., Moreno, J., Mouchet, A., Nakagawa, S., Nilsson, J-Å., Nilsson, J., Norte, A. C., van Oers, K., Orell, M., Potti, J., Quinn, J. L., Réale, D., Reiertsen, T. K., Rosivall, B., Russel, A. F., Rytkönen, S., Sánchez-Virosta, P., Santos, E. S. A., Schroeder, J., Senar, J. C., Seress, G., Slagsvold, T., Szulkin, M., Teplitsky, C., Tilgar, V., Tolstoguzov, A., Török, J., Valcu, M., Vatka, E., Verhulst, S., Watson, H., Yuta, T., Zamora-Marín, J. M. & Visser, M. E. 2021. Connected data landscape of long-term ecological studies: the SPI-Birds data hub. – Journal of Animal Ecology 90(9): 2147–2160. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2656.1338810.1111/1365-2656.13388 Search in Google Scholar

Finch, D. M. 1989. Relationships of surrounding riparian habitat to nest-box use and reproductive outcome in House Wrens. – Condor 91(4): 848–859. DOI: 10.2307/136806910.2307/1368069 Search in Google Scholar

Goodenough, A. E., Elliot, S. L. & Hart, A. G. 2009. The challenges of conservation for declining migrants: are reserve-based initiatives during the breeding season appropriate for the Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca? – Ibis 151(3): 429–439. DOI: 10.1111/j.1474-919X.2009.00917.x10.1111/j.1474-919X.2009.00917.x Search in Google Scholar

Goodenough, A. E., Hart, A. G. & Elliot, S. L. 2008a Variation in offspring quality with cavity orientation in the Great Tit. – Ethology Ecology and Evolution 20(4): 375–389. DOI: 10.1080/08927014.2008.952251810.1080/08927014.2008.9522518 Search in Google Scholar

Goodenough, A. E., Maitland, D. P., Hart, A. G. & Elliot, S. L. 2008b Nestbox orientation: a species-specific influence on occupation and breeding success in woodland passerines. –Bird Study 55(2): 222–232. DOI: 10.1080/0006365080946152610.1080/00063650809461526 Search in Google Scholar

Hewson, C. M., Amar, A., Lindsell, J. A., Thewlis, R. M., Butler, S., Smith, K. & Fuller, R. J. 2007. Recent changes in bird populations in British broadleaved woodland. – Ibis 149(s2): 14–28. DOI: 10.1111/j.1474-919X.2007.00745.x10.1111/j.1474-919X.2007.00745.x Search in Google Scholar

Lambrechts, M. M., Adriaensen, F., Ardia, D. R., Artemyev, A. V., Atiénzar, F., Bańbura, J., Barba, E., Bouvier, J-C., Camproden, J., Cooper, C. B., Dawson, R. D., Eens, M., Eeva, T., Faivre, B., Garamszegi, L. Z., Goodenough, A. E., Gosler, A. G., Grégoire, A., Griffith, S. C., Gustafsson, L., Johnson, L. S., Kania, W., Keišs, O., Llambias, P. E., Mainwaring, M. C., Mänd, R., Massa, B., Mazgajski, T. D., Møller, A. P., Moreno, J., Naef-Daenzer, B., Nilsson, J-Å., Norte, A. C., Orell, M., Otter, K. A., Park, C. R., Perrins, C. M., Pinowski, J., Porkert, J., Potti, J., Remes, V., Richner, H., Rytkönen, S., Shiao, M-T., Silverin, B., Slagsvold, T., Smith, H. G., Sorace, A., Stenning, M. J., Stewart, I., Thompson, C. F., Tryjanowski, P., Török, J., van Noordwijk, A. J., Winkler, D. W. & Ziane, N. 2010. The design of artificial nestboxes for the study of secondary hole-nesting birds: a review of methodological inconsistencies and potential biases. – Acta Ornithologica 45(1): 1–26. DOI: 10.3161/000164510X51604710.3161/000164510X516047 Search in Google Scholar

Lambrechts, M. M., Caizergues, A. E., Perrier, C., Charmantier, A. & Caro, S. P. 2020. Surface temperatures of non-incubated eggs in Great Tits (Parus major) are strongly associated with ambient temperature. – International Journal of Biometeorology 64(10): 1767–1775. DOI: 10.1007/s00484-020-01958-110.1007/s00484-020-01958-1 Search in Google Scholar

Le Roux, D. S., Ikin, K., Lindenmayer, D. B., Bistricer, G., Manning, A. D. & Gibbons, P. 2016. Effects of entrance size, tree size and landscape context on nest box occupancy: Considerations for management and biodiversity offsets. – Forest Ecology and Management 366(1): 135–142. DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2016.02.01710.1016/j.foreco.2016.02.017 Search in Google Scholar

Lumsden, H. G. 1986. Choice of nestboxes by Tree Swallows, Tachycineta bicolor, House Wrens, Troglodytes aedon, Eastern Bluebirds, Sialia sialis, and European Starlings, Sturnus vulgaris. – Canadian Field-Naturalist 100(3): 43–49. Search in Google Scholar

Lundberg, A. & Alatalo, R. V. 1992. The Pied Flycatcher. – T & AD Poyser, London Search in Google Scholar

Mainwaring, M. C. & Hartley, I. R. 2012. Causes and consequences of differential growth in birds: a behavioral perspective. – Advances in the Study of Behavior 44: 22–277. DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-394288-3.00006-X10.1016/B978-0-12-394288-3.00006-X Search in Google Scholar

Mainwaring, M. C. & Hartley, I. R. 2016. Local weather conditions have complex effects on the growth of Blue Tit nestlings. – Journal of Thermal Biology 60(1): 12–19. DOI: 10.1016/j.jtherbio.2016.05.00510.1016/j.jtherbio.2016.05.005 Search in Google Scholar

Mainwaring, M. C., Reynolds, S. J. & Weidinger, K. 2015. The influence of predation on the location and design of nests. – In: Deeming, D. C. & Reynolds, S. J. (eds.) Nests, eggs, and incubation: new ideas about avian reproduction. – Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 50–64. Search in Google Scholar

Mazgajski, T. D. 2007. Nest hole age decreases nest site attractiveness for the European Starling Sturnus vulgaris. – Ornis Fennica 84(1): 32–38. Search in Google Scholar

Maziarz, M., Broughton, R. K. & Wesołowski, T. 2017. Microclimate in tree cavities and nest-boxes: Implications for hole-nesting birds. – Forest Ecology and Management 389(1): 306–313. DOI: 10.1016/j. foreco.2017.01.001 Search in Google Scholar

Mennill, D. J. & Ratcliffe, L. M. 2004. Nest cavity orientation in Black-capped Chickadees Poecile atricapillus: do the acoustic properties of cavities influence sound reception in the nest and extra-pair matings? – Journal of Avian Biology 35(6): 477–482. DOI: 10.1111/j.0908-8857.2004.03351.x10.1111/j.0908-8857.2004.03351.x Search in Google Scholar

Miller, K. E. 2010. Nest-site limitation of secondary cavity-nesting birds in even-aged southern pine forests. – Wilson Journal of Ornithology 122(1): 126–134. DOI: 10.1676/07-130.110.1676/07-130.1 Search in Google Scholar

Mitchell, A. 1974. A Field Guide to the Trees of Britain and Northern Europe. – Collins, London Search in Google Scholar

Møller, A. P., Adriaensen, F., Artemyev, A., Bańbura, J., Barba, E., Biard, C., Blondel, J., Bouslama, Z., Bouvier, J-C., Camprodon, J., Cecere, F., Chaine, A., Charmantier, A., Charter, M., Cichoń, M., Cusimano, C., Czeszewik, D., Doligez, B., Doutrelant, C., Dubiec, A., Eens, M., Eeva, T., Faivre, B., Ferns, P. N., Forsman, J. T., García-del-Ray, E., Goldshtein, A., Goodenough, A. E., Gosler, A. G., Góźdź, I., Grégoire, A., Gustafsson, L., Hartley, I. R., Heeb, P., Hinsley, S. A., Isenmann, P., Jacob, S., Järvinen, A., Juškaitis, R., Kania, W., Korpimäki, E., Krams, I., Laaksonen, T., Leclercq, B., Lehikoinen, E., Loukola, O., Lundberg, A., Mainwaring, M. C., Mänd, R., Massa, B., Mazgajski, T. D., Merino, S., Mitrus, C., Mönkkönen, M., Morales-Fernaz, J., Moreno, J., Morin, X., Nager, R. G., Nilsson, J-Å., Nilsson, S. G., Norte, A. C., Orell, M., Perret, P., Perrins, C. M., Pimentel, C. S., Pinxten, R., Priedniece, I., Quidoz, M-C., Remeš, V., Richner, H., Robles Díez, H., Russell, A., Rytkönen, S., Senar, J. C., Seppänen, J. T., Pascoal da Silva, L., Slagsvold, T., Solonen, T., Sorace, A., Stenning, M. J., Török, J., Tryjanowski, P., van Noordwijk, A. J., von Numers, M., Walankiewicz, W. & Lambrechts, M. M. 2014. Clutch size variation in Western Palearctic secondary hole-nesting passerine birds in relation to nestbox design. – Methods in Ecology and Evolution 5(4): 353–362. DOI: 10.1111/2041-210X.1216010.1111/2041-210X.12160 Search in Google Scholar

Monti, F., Nelli, L., Catoni, C. & Dell’Omo, G. 2019. Nest box selection and reproduction of European Rollers in Central Italy: a 7-year study. – Avian Research 10(1): 13. DOI: 10.1186/s40657-019-0150-010.1186/s40657-019-0150-0 Search in Google Scholar

Mueller, A. J., Twedt, D. J. & Bowers, E. K. 2019. Rapid adoption of nest boxes by Prothonotary Warblers (Protonotaria citrea) in mesic deciduous forest. – Canadian Journal of Zoology 97(12): 1109–1115. DOI: 10.1139/cjz-2019-005910.1139/cjz-2019-0059 Search in Google Scholar

Navara, K. J. & Anderson, E. M. 2011. Eastern Bluebirds choose nestboxes based on box orientation. – Southeast Naturalist 10(4): 713–720. DOI: 10.1656/058.010.041010.1656/058.010.0410 Search in Google Scholar

O’Connor, R. J. 1984. The Growth and Development of Birds. – John Wiley and Sons, London Search in Google Scholar

Rodwell, J. S. 1991. British Plant Communities, Volume 1: Woodlands and Scrub. – Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Search in Google Scholar

Rohrbaugh, R. W. Jr. & Yahner, R. H. 1997. Effects of macrohabitat and microhabitat on nest box use and nesting success of American Kestrels. – Wilson Bulletin 109(1): 410–423. Search in Google Scholar

Sacilotto, K. A. & Anderson, J. T. 2005. Avian nest box use on islands in the Ohio River. – Northeastern Naturalist 12(4): 403–410. DOI: 10.1656/1092-6194(2005)012[0403:ANBUOI]2.0.CO;2 Search in Google Scholar

Salaberria, C., Celis, P., López-Rull, I. & Gill, D. 2014. Effects of temperature and nest heat exposure on nestling growth, dehydration and survival in a Mediterranean hole-nesting passerine. – Ibis 156(2): 265–275. DOI: 10.1111/ibi.1212110.1111/ibi.12121 Search in Google Scholar

Samplonius, J. M. & Both, C. 2019. Climate change may affect fatal competition between two bird species. – Current Biology 29(2): 327–331. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2018.11.06310.1016/j.cub.2018.11.063 Search in Google Scholar

Smith, K. W., Smith, L., Charman, E., Briggs, K., Burgess, M., Dennis, C., Harding, M., Isherwood, C., Isherwood, I. & Mallord, J. 2011. Large-scale variation in the temporal patterns of the frass fall of defoliating caterpillars in oak woodlands in Britain: implications for nesting woodland birds. – Bird Study 58(4): 506–511. DOI: 10.1080/00063657.2011.61618610.1080/00063657.2011.616186 Search in Google Scholar

Stanback, M. T., Niemasik, E., Millican, D. & McGovern, P. 2019. Pairing nest boxes does not promote coexistence of Eastern Bluebirds (Sialia sialis) and subordinate cavity nesters. – Wilson Journal of Ornithology 131(2): 422–427. DOI: 10.1676/18-9310.1676/18-93 Search in Google Scholar

Wachob, D. G. 1996. A microclimate analysis of nest-site selection by Mountain Chickadees. – Journal of Field Ornithology 67(4): 525–533. Search in Google Scholar

Wilkin, T. A., King, L. E. & Sheldon, B. C. 2009. Habitat quality, nestling diet, and provisioning behaviour in Great Tits Parus major. – Journal of Avian Biology 40(2): 135–145. DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-048X.2009.04362.x10.1111/j.1600-048X.2009.04362.x Search in Google Scholar

Wilson, J. 2015. A nest-box and colour-ringing study of Bearded Tits Panurus biarmicus at Leighton Moss, Lancashire. – Ringing and Migration 30(2): 75–80. DOI: 10.1080/03078698.2015.112824710.1080/03078698.2015.1128247 Search in Google Scholar

Recommended articles from Trend MD

Plan your remote conference with Sciendo