Low Occupancy Rates of Artificial Nest Cavities by European Starlings

Thomas W. Seamans, Bradley F. Blackwell, Laura A. Tyson

Abstract


European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) are known for their generalist ecological requirements and compete for available cavity nest sites with native species.  Our purpose was to revisit recent findings with regard to Starling selection of artificial nest structures.  In previous studies involving Starling use of wooden nest boxes in northern Ohio, USA, Starling occupancy across sites ranged from 67% to 100%; use by native species was minimal.  In this study, we made available 25 wooden boxes and 25 PVC nest tubes for Starling nesting, but we were forced to forego planned treatments because of low Starling occupancy rates.  We found a maximum occupancy rate of 40% for Starlings, whereas Eastern Bluebirds (Sialia sialis) and Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) had a combined minimal occupancy rate of 52%.  We speculate that an increase in availability of dead ash trees (Fraxinus spp.) due to damage by the emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis), as well as a potential increase in natural cavities due to an increasing Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) population might explain our findings.  With potentially fewer Starlings selecting artificial structures native species might now exploit these artificial nest sites.


Keywords


European Starling, nest competition, Sturnus vulgaris, Tachycineta bicolor, Tree Swallow, woodpeckers

Full Text:

Full Article (PDF)


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18061/ojs.v115i2.4943

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Copyright (c) 2016 Thomas W. Seamans, Bradley F. Blackwell, Laura A. Tyson



 

 


Visit The Ohio Academy of Science's webpage

Visit our Knowledge Bank site for articles published from 1900 through 2013.

The Ohio Journal of Science is published by The Ohio State University Libraries in partnership with The Ohio Academy of Science.

If you encounter problems with the site or have comments to offer, including any access difficulty due to incompatibility with adaptive technology, please contact libkbhelp@lists.osu.edu.

ISSN: 2471-9390 (Online); 0030-0950 (Print)