Creation of forested edges in some landscapes can increase the risk of nest predation and consequently lower the reproductive success of forest passerines. This edge effect has not been well studied in western coniferous forests, particularly in southeast Alaska. In a series of artificial nest predation experiments, conducted in southeast Alaska between 1994 and 1997, we tested the risk of nest predation among open, edge, and interior forest habitats associated with natural (wetland) and anthropogenically created (clearcuts and suburbs) openings in coniferous north-temperate rainforest. We also censused known (Steller's Jays [Cyanocitta stelleri] and red squirrels [Tamiasciurus hudsonicus]) and probable nest predators (Common Ravens [Corvus corax] and Northwestern Crows [C. caurinus]). In general, higher nest predation was seen in habitats with the highest abundance of nest predators. Nests in wetland forest edges, where both jays and squirrels were detected frequently, were depredated more often than those in wetland openings or forest interior, where predators were less common. High nest predation was seen on the edges of suburbs where jays and crows were abundant, and in clearcut openings, edges, and interior forest, where squirrels were a common nest predator throughout. Type and abundance of predators differed among habitats and possibly with degree of forest fragmentation, edge type, and forest matrix.
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Vol. 72 • No. 1