Translator Disclaimer
1 July 2007 Effect of Old Nest Material on Nest Site Selection and Breeding Parameters in Secondary Hole Nesters — a Review
Author Affiliations +
Abstract

Hole nesting birds, due to the long lasting nature of cavities, use their nest sites for many years. Therefore, they may face the problem of the presence of nest material from previous breeding seasons. For a long time, the problem of old nest presence was not addressed in studies of this group of birds because nestboxes, a useful tool in studies of hole nesters, were cleaned by investigators, with old nests removed before each breeding season. In this review, the available results of experiments related to the effects of old nests on hole nesting birds are collected, recapitulated and discussed. The possible effects of old nests on nest site choice and breeding parameters, such as phenology, clutch size, fledging condition, as well as on ectoparasite numbers in a new nest, are presented. The findings show that studies on the problem of old nests started to be conducted mainly in the early 1990's, and to date more then thirty papers have been published related to this topic. The most frequent subjects of such studies in Europe were the Pied Flycather Ficedula hypoleuca, Blue and Great Tits Cyanistes caeruleus, Parus major, and European Starling Sturnus vulgaris, while in North America — the House Wren Troglodytes aedon and Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis. The analysis of existing papers reveals that a majority of studies did not find any significant effect of old nest presence on nest site selection. In most papers, the presence of old nests did not influence birds' breeding parameters. Worse reproductive output in nestboxes containing old nests was found very rarely, and in particular seasons or study areas. Data on ectoparasite occurrence in relation to the presence of old nest material were presented only in a few papers. Fewer fleas were found in new nests built in artificially cleaned sites compared to sites containing old nests. The abundance of mites and blow fly larvae was not related to nestbox treatment. The results of this review suggest that there is no clear pattern of effects of old nest presence on hole nesters' breeding. It seems that the location of the study area, which influences the time available for birds' reproduction, is especially important for migratory species, and the impact of the ectoparasites dominating in a given study area may influence obtained results. This paper also suggests the direction of future work in this topic. Of most importance are studies carried out in natural tree holes, as the decomposition rate of old nest material could be much higher in such cavities than in nestboxes, and studies providing detailed descriptions of the costs and benefits of nest site cleaning behaviour of the birds themselves.

REFERENCES

1.

J. Alabrudzińska , A. Kaliński , A. Słomczyński , A. Wawrzyniak , P. Zieliński , J. Bańbura 2003. Effects of nest characteristics on breeding success of Great Tits Parus major. Acta Ornithol. 38: 151–154. Google Scholar

2.

R. Alatalo , A. Carlson , A. Lundberg 1991. Polygyny and breeding success of Pied Flycatcher nesting in natural cavities. In: J. Blondel , A. Gosler , J-D. Lebreton , R. McCleery (eds). Population biology of passerine birds. Springer, Berlin Heildelberg, pp. 323–330. Google Scholar

3.

K. Allander 1998. The effects of an ectoparasite on reproductive success in the great tit: a 3-year experimental study. Can J. Zool. 76: 19–25. Google Scholar

4.

A. Antonov , D. Atanasova 2003. Re-use of old nests versus the construction of new ones in the Magpie Pica pica in the city of Sofia (Bulgaria). Acta Ornithol 38: 1–4. Google Scholar

5.

J. M. Aviles , J. M. Sanchez , D. Parejo 2000. The Roller Coracias garrulus in Extramadura (southwestern Spain) does not show a preference for breeding in clean nestboxes. Bird Study 47: 252–254. Google Scholar

6.

J. Bańbura , J. Blondel , H. de Wilde-Lambrechts , P. Perret 1995. Why do female Blue Tit (Parus caeruleus) bring fresh plants to their nests. J. Ornithol 136: 217–221. Google Scholar

7.

J. Bańbura , P. Perret , J. Blondel , D. W. Thomas , M. Cartan-Son , M. M. Lambrechts 2004. Effects of Protocalliphora parasites on nestling food composition in Corsican Blue Tits Parus caeruleus: consequences for nestling performance. Acta Ornithol. 39: 93–103. Google Scholar

8.

E. Barba , J. A. Gil-Delgado , J. S. Monros 1995. The costs of being late: consequences of delaying great tit Parus major first clutches. J. Anim. Ecol. 64: 642–651. Google Scholar

9.

R. M. R. Barclay 1988. Variation in the costs, benefits, and frequency of nest reuse by barn swallows (Hirundo rustica). Auk 105: 53–60. Google Scholar

10.

J. C. Barlow , S. N. Leckie 2000. Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus). In: A. Poole , F. Gill (eds). The Birds of North America, No. 560. The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA. Google Scholar

11.

C. R. Blem , L. B. Blem , L. S. Berlinghoff 1999. Old nests in Prothonotary Warbler nest boxes: effects on reproductive performance. J. Field Ornithol. 70: 95–100. Google Scholar

12.

Z. Bouslama , M. M. Lambrechts , N. Ziane , R. Djenidi , Y. Chabi 2002. The effect of nest ectoparasites on parental provisioning in a north-African population of the Blue Tit Parus caeruleus. Ibis 144: E73–E78. Google Scholar

13.

L. Brouwer , J. Komdeur 2004. Green nesting material has a function in mate attraction in the European starling. Anim. Behav. 67: 539–548. Google Scholar

14.

C. R. Brown 1997. Purple Martin (Progne subis). In: A. Poole , F. Gill (eds). The Birds of North America, No 287. The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA. Google Scholar

15.

C. R. Brown , M. B. Brown 1986. Ectoparasitism as a cost of coloniality in cliff swallows (Hirundo pyrrhonota). Ecology 67: 1206–1218. Google Scholar

16.

B. Campbell , E. Lack (eds). 1985. A Dictionary of Birds. T & AD Poyser, Carlton. Google Scholar

17.

R. J. Cannings 1993. Saw-whet Owl. (Aegolius acadicus). In: A. Poole , F. Gill (eds). The Birds of North America, No 42.. The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA. Google Scholar

18.

J. F. Cavitt , A. T. Pearse , T. Miller 1999. Brown thrasher nest reuse: a time saving resource, protection from search strategy predators, or cues for nest-site selection? Condor 101: 859–862. Google Scholar

19.

P. Christe , H. Richner , A. Oppliger 1996a. Begging, food provisioning, and nestling competition in great tit broods infested with ectoparasites. Behav. Ecol. 7: 127–131. Google Scholar

20.

P. Christe , H. Richner , A. Oppliger 1996b. Of great tits and fleas: sleep baby sleep… Anim. Behav. 52: 108–1092. Google Scholar

21.

L. Clark 1991. The nest protection hypothesis: the adaptative use of plant secondary compounds by European starling. In: J. E. Loye , M. Zuk (eds). Bird-parasite interactions: ecology, evolution, and behaviour. Oxford University Press, pp. 205–221. Google Scholar

22.

K. F. Conrad , R. J. Robertson 1993. Clutch size in eastern phoebes (Sayornis phoebe). I. The cost of nest building. Can. J. Zool. 71: 1003–1007. Google Scholar

23.

S. Cramp , C. M. Perrins (eds). 1993,1994. The Birds of Western Palearctic. Vol. VII, VIII, Oxford Univ. Press. Google Scholar

24.

D. Czeszczewik 2004. Breeding success and timing of the Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca nesting in natural holes and nest-boxes in the Białowieża Forest, Poland. Acta Ornithol. 39: 15–120. Google Scholar

25.

W. H. Davies , P. J. Kalisz , R. J. Wells 1994. Eastern bluebirds prefer boxes containing old nests. J. Field Ornithol. 65: 250–253. Google Scholar

26.

T. Eeva , E. Lehikoinen , J. Nurmi 1994. Effects of ectoparasites on breeding success of great tit (Parus major) and pied flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca) in an air pollution gradient. Can. J. Zool. 72: 624–635. Google Scholar

27.

W. J. Erckmann , L. D. Beletsky , G. H. Orians , T. Johnsen , S. Sharbaugh , C. D'Antonio 1990. Old nests as cues for nest-site selection: an experimental test with Red-winged Blackbirds. Condor 92: 113–117. Google Scholar

28.

C. Feare 1984. The Starling. Oxford Univ. Press. Google Scholar

29.

Feu C. R. du 1982. How tits avoid flea infestation at nest sites. Ringing & Migration 13: 120–121. Google Scholar

30.

L. E. Friesen , V. E. Wyatt , M. D. Cadman 1999. Nest reuse by Wood Thrushes and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks. Wilson Bull. 111: 132–133. Google Scholar

31.

M. Gauthier , D. W. Thomas 1993. Nest site selection and cost of nest building by cliff swallows (Hirundo pyrrhonota). Can. J. Zool. 71: 1120–1123. Google Scholar

32.

P. A. Gowaty , J. H. Plissner 1997. Breeding dispersal of Eastern Bluebirds depends on nesting success but not on removal of old nests: an experimental study. J. Field Ornithol. 68: 323–330. Google Scholar

33.

H. Gwinner , S. Berger 2005. European starling: nestling condition, parasites and green nest material during the breeding season. J. Ornithol. 146: 365–371. Google Scholar

34.

M. Hanssel 2000. Bird nests and construction behaviour. Cambridge Univ. Press. Google Scholar

35.

G. D. Hayward , P. H. Hayward 1993. Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus). In: A. Poole , F. Gill (eds). The Birds of North America, No. 63. The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA. Google Scholar

36.

Z. Hubalek , F. Balát , I. Toukova , J. Vlk 1973. Mycoflora of birds' nests in nest-boxes. Mycopathologia 49: 1–12. Google Scholar

37.

D. A. Humphries 1968. The host-findings behaviour of the hen flea, Cerathophyllus galinae (Schrank). Parasitology 58: 403–414. Google Scholar

38.

J. A. Jackson , J. Tate Jr . 1974. An analysis on nest box use by Purple Martins, House Sparrows, and Starlings in Eastern North America. Wilson Bull. 86: 435–449. Google Scholar

39.

L. S. Johnson 1996. Removal of old nest material from the nesting sites of house wrens: effects on nest site attractiveness and ectoparasite loads. J. Field Ornithol. 67: 212–221. Google Scholar

40.

S. Kaczmarek 1991. [Insects from nests of Passeriformes collected in Pomeriania]. WSP Słupsk. Google Scholar

41.

B. Kessel 1957. A study of the breeding biology of the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris L.) in North America. Am. Midl. Nat. 58: 257–331. Google Scholar

42.

P. Kozłowski 1992. [Nest-boxes as a site of bird broods in Warsaw urban park]. Acta Ornithol. 27: 21–33. Google Scholar

43.

M. Kuitunen , A. Aleknonis 1992. Nest predation and breeding success in Common Treecreepers nesting in boxes and natural cavities. Ornis Fennica 69: 7–12. Google Scholar

44.

L. Lafuma , M. M. Lambrechts , M. Raymond 2001. Aromatic plants in bird nests as a protection against blood-sucking flying insects? Behav. Proc. 56: 113–120. Google Scholar

45.

N. Lahlah , Y. Chabi , M. Bańbura , J. Bańbura 2006. Breeding biology of the House Martin Delichon urbica in Algeria. Acta Ornithol. 41: 113–120. Google Scholar

46.

S. L. Lima , L. M. Dill 1990. Behavioral decisions made under the risk of predation: a review and prospectus. Can. J. Zool. 68: 619–640. Google Scholar

47.

J. E. Loye , S. P. Carroll 1991. Nest ectoparasite abundance and cliff swallow colony site selection, nestling development and departure time. In: J. E. Loye, M. Zuk (eds). Bird-parasite interactions: ecology, evolution, and behaviour. Oxford University Press, pp. 223–241. Google Scholar

48.

J. E. Loye , S. P. Carroll 1998. Ectoparasite behaviour and its effects on avian nest site selection. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 91: 159–163. Google Scholar

49.

A. Lundberg , R. V. Alatalo 1992. Pied flycatcher. T. & A. D. Poyser, London. Google Scholar

50.

T. Mappes , J. Mappes , J. Kotiaho 1994. Ectoparasites, nest site choice and breeding success in the pied flycatcher. Oecologia 98: 147–149. Google Scholar

51.

G. Marples 1936-37. Behaviour of starlings at nest site. Brit. Birds 30: 14–21. Google Scholar

52.

T. E. Martin , J. Scott , C. Menge 2000. Nest predation increases with parental activity: separating nest site and parental activity effects. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B 267: 2287–2293. Google Scholar

53.

T. D. Mazgajski 2003. Nest site choice in relation to the presence of old nests and cavity depth in the starling Sturnus vulgaris. Ethol. Ecol. Evol. 15: 273–281. Google Scholar

54.

T. D. Mazgajski 2007a. Effect of old nest material in nestboxes on ectoparasite abundance and reproductive output in the European Starling Sturnus vulgaris (L). Pol. J. Ecol. 55: 377–385. Google Scholar

55.

T. D. Mazgajski 2007b. Nest hole age decreases nest site attractiveness for the European Starling Sturnus vulgaris. Ornis Fennica 84: 32–38. Google Scholar

56.

T. D. Mazgajski , A. H. Kędra 1997. Are nestling of hole nesting birds affected by ectoparasites — a review. Wiad. Parazytol. 43: 347–355. Google Scholar

57.

T. D. Mazgajski , A. H. Kędra , K. G. Beal 2004. The pattern of nest-site cleaning by European starling Sturnus vulgaris. Ibis 146: 175–177. Google Scholar

58.

J. Merilä , M. Björklund , G. F. Bennett 1995. Geographic and individual variation in haemetozoan infections in the greenfinch, Carduelis chloris. Can. J. Zool. 73: 1798–1804. Google Scholar

59.

S. Merino , J. Potti 1995. Pied flycatchers prefer to nest in clean nest boxes in an area with detrimental nest ectoparasites. Condor 97: 828–831. Google Scholar

60.

C. Mitrus 2003. A comparison of the breeding ecology of the Collared Flycatcher Ficedula albicollis nesting in boxes and natural cavities. J. Field Ornithol. 74: 293–299. Google Scholar

61.

A. P. Møller 1989. Parasites, predators and nest-boxes: facts and artefacts in nest box studies of birds? Oikos 56: 421–423. Google Scholar

62.

A. P. Møller , M. Martin-Vivaldi , S. Merino , J. J. Soler 2006. Density-dependent and geographical variation in bird immune response. Oikos 115: 463–474. Google Scholar

63.

I. Newton 1994. The role of nest-sites in limiting the numbers of hole-nesting birds: a review. Biol. Conserv. 70: 265–276. Google Scholar

64.

S. G. Nilsson , K. Johnsson , M. Tjernberg 1991. Is avoidance by black woodpeckers of old nest holes due to predators? Anim. Behav. 8: 439–441. Google Scholar

65.

K. Olsson K. Allander 1995. Do fleas and/or old nest material, influence nest site preference in hole-nesting passerines? Ethology 101: 160–170. Google Scholar

66.

A. Oppliger , H. Richner & P. Christe 1994. Effect of an ectoparasite on lay date, nest-site choice, desertion, and hatching success in the great tit (Parus major). Behav. Ecol. 5: 130–134. Google Scholar

67.

M. Orell , S. Rytkönen , K. Ilomäki 1993. Do pied flycatchers prefer nest boxes with old nest material? Ann. Zool. Fenn. 30: 313–316. Google Scholar

68.

A. J. Pacejka , E. Santana , R. G. Harper , C. F. Thompson 1996. House wrens Troglodytes aedon and nest-dwelling ectoparasites: mite population growth and feeding patterns. J. Avian Biol. 27: 273–278. Google Scholar

69.

A. J. Pacejka , C. F. Thompson 1996. Does removal of old nests from nestboxes by researchers affect mite population in subsequent nests of house wrens? J. Field Ornithol. 67: 558–564. Google Scholar

70.

J. Pinowski , B. Pinowska , M. Barkowska , L. Jerzak , P. Zduniak , P. Tryjanowski 2006. Significance of the breeding season for autumnal nest-site selection by Tree Sparows Passer domesticus. Acta Ornithol. 41: 83–87. Google Scholar

71.

A. Poole , F. Gill 1993–2000 (eds). The Birds of North America. The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadephia PA. Google Scholar

72.

H. Pöysä , V. Ruusila , M. Milonif , J. Virtanen 2001. Ability to assess nest predation risk in secondary hole-nesting birds: an experimental study. Oecologia 126: 201–207. Google Scholar

73.

H. Proctor , I. Owens 2000. Mites and birds: diversity, parasitism and coevolution. TREE 15: 358–364. Google Scholar

74.

J. M. Reid , P. Monaghan , G. D. Ruxton 2000. Resource allocation between reproductive phases: the importance of thermal conditions in determining the cost of incubation. Proc. R Soc. Lond. B 267: 37–41. Google Scholar

75.

W. B. Rendell , N. A. Verbeek 1996a. Are avian ectoparasites more numerous in nest boxes with old nest material? Can. J. Zool. 74: 1819–1825. Google Scholar

76.

W. B. Rendell , N. A. Verbeek 1996b. Old nest material in nest boxes of tree swallows: effects on nest-site choice and nest building. Auk 113: 319–328. Google Scholar

77.

W. B. Rendell , N. A. Verbeek 1996c. Old nest material in nestboxes of the Tree Swallows: Effects on reproductive success. Condor 98: 142–152. Google Scholar

78.

S. Rytkönen , R. Lehtonen , M. Orell 1998. Breeding Great Tits Parus major avoid nestboxes infected with fleas Ibis 140: 687–690. Google Scholar

79.

J. A. Sedgwick 1997. Sequential cavity use in a Cottonwood bottomland. Condor 99: 880–887. Google Scholar

80.

D. R. Singelton , R. G. Harper 1997. Bacteria in old Hose Wren nests. J. Field Ornithol. 69: 71–74. Google Scholar

81.

H. G. Smith 2004. Selection for synchronous breeding in the European starling. Oikos 105: 301–311. Google Scholar

82.

G. A. Sonerud 1985: Nest hole shift in Tengmalm's Owl Aegolius funereus as defence against nest predation involving long-term memory in the predator. J. Anim. Ecol. 54: 179–192. Google Scholar

83.

A. Sorace , F. Petrassi , C. Consiglio 2004. Long-distance relocation of nestboxes reduces nest predation by Pine Marten Martes martes. Bird Study 51: 119–124. Google Scholar

84.

M. T. Stanback , A. A. Dervan 2001. Within-season nestsite fidelity in Eastern Bluebirds: disentangling effects of nest success and parasite avoidance. Auk 118: 743–745. Google Scholar

85.

M. T. Stanback , E. K. Rockwell 2003. Nest-site fidelity in Eastern Bluebirds (Sialia sialis) depends on the quality of alternate cavities. Auk 120: 1029–1032. Google Scholar

86.

C. F. Thompson , A. J. Neill 1991. House wrens do not prefer clean nestboxes. Anim. Behav. 42: 1022–1024. Google Scholar

87.

G. Tomás , S. Merino , J. Moreno , J. Morales 2007. Consequences of nest reuse for parasite burden and female health and condition in blue tit, Cyanistes caeruleus. Anim Behav. 73: 805–814. Google Scholar

88.

G. Tomás , S. Merino , J. Moreno , J. J. Sanz , J. Morales , S. GarciaFraile 2006. Nest weight and female health in the blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus). Auk 123: 1013–1021. Google Scholar

89.

F. M. Utsey , G. R. Hepp 1997. Frequency of nest box maintenance: effects on Wood Duck nesting in South Carolina. J. Wildl. Manage. 61: 801–807. Google Scholar

90.

W. Walankiewicz 2002. Nest predation as a limiting factor to the breeding population size of the Collared Flycatcher Ficedula albicollis in the Białowieża National Park (NE Poland). Acta Ornithol. 37: 91–106. Google Scholar

91.

T. Wesołowski 2000. What happens to old nests in natural cavities? Auk 117: 498–500. Google Scholar

92.

T. Wesołowski 2002. Anti-predator adaptations in nesting marsh tits Parus palustris: the role of nest-site security. Ibis 144: 593–601. Google Scholar

93.

Wesołowski 2006. Nest-site re-use: Marsh Tit Parus palustris decisions in a primeval forest. Bird Study 53. 199–204. Google Scholar

94.

T. Wesołowski , D. Czeszczewik , P. Rowiński , W. Walankiewicz 2002. Nest soaking in natural holes — a serious cause of breeding failure? Ornis Fennica 79: 132–138. Google Scholar

95.

T. Wesołowski , M. Stańska 2001. High ectoparasite loads in hole-nesting birds — a nestbox bias? J. Avian Biol. 32: 281–285. Google Scholar

96.

D. A. Wiggins , T. Pärt , L. Gustafsson 1994. Seasonal decline in collared flycatcher Ficedula albicollis reproductive success: an experimental approach. Oikos 70: 359–364. Google Scholar

97.

D. W. Winkler , P. H. Wrege , P. E. Allen , T. L. Kast , P. Senesac , M. F. Wasson , P. L. Llambias , V. Ferretti , P. J. Sullivan 2004. Breeding dispersal and philopatry in the Tree Swallow. Condor 106: 768–776. Google Scholar

98.

D. Wysocki 2004. Nest re-use by Blackbird — the way for safe breeding? Acta Ornithol. 39: 164–168. Google Scholar
Tomasz D. Mazgajski "Effect of Old Nest Material on Nest Site Selection and Breeding Parameters in Secondary Hole Nesters — a Review," Acta Ornithologica 42(1), 1-14, (1 July 2007). https://doi.org/10.3161/068.042.0107
Received: 1 May 2007; Accepted: 1 June 2007; Published: 1 July 2007
JOURNAL ARTICLE
14 PAGES


SHARE
ARTICLE IMPACT
Back to Top