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In our study, we use wildlife cameras with artificial nests to monitor the nest survival rate in agricultural landscapes within a 400-m zone (stretching 150 m into the forest and 250 m into the open field) and to identify nest predators of ground-nesting birds.We first test the effect of two different habitat-related factors on the level of nest predation: (1) distance from the forest and nearest tree (stalking perch for predatory birds) and (2) the effect of visibility of the nest from the air on predation.European populations of many ground-nesting farmland birds have declined in recent decades.Increases in predator populations and nest predation may play an important role in this decline, along with habitat loss.We are also able to (4) record the exact predation date.Artificial nests provide little insight in to predation rates of natural nests.While bird populations have declined, predator populations have developed in the opposite direction: evidence shows that the European populations of many predator species preying upon ground-nesting bird nests have grown considerably during recent decades (Panek and Bresinski ) underlined that the importance of nest predation has increased over recent years: they found a 25% increase in the overall predation rate over their 12-year study period in Poland.
The three dominant predators of our artificial nests were the raccoon dog () with 10 depredated nests each.We defined an open agricultural area as a field and did not sort out vegetation types.This experiment included several fallows and most cameras were placed on the edge of field patches, mostly for practical reasons (farming activities could have destroyed the nests).Our study highlights the efficiency of using wildlife camera traps in nest predation studies.We also suggest that the ongoing expansion of alien predators across Europe may have a greater impact on ground-nesting bird populations than previously anticipated.), habitat deterioration can emphasize the effect of nest predation on breeding success in several ways: (1) habitat change may cause an increase in predator numbers; (2) increased nest densities, e.g., owing to a loss of suitable nest-site habitat, can result in higher predation rates; (3) habitat change may force birds to nest in more unsafe habitat types; (4) a reduction in the availability of alternative food sources may cause generalist predators to change their diets; and (5) habitat changes can lead to shortened breeding seasons and thus to less renesting opportunities, thereby increasing the sensitivity of breeding success to nest predation rates.
All areas consisted of fragmented agricultural landscapes.