Volume 13 Issue 1
Mar.  2022
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Kevin B. Briggs, Mark C. Mainwaring. 2022: Habitat selection by nestbox-breeding birds and Roe Deer are incongruent within a heterogeneous woodland landscape. Avian Research, 13(1): 100012. doi: 10.1016/j.avrs.2022.100012
Citation: Kevin B. Briggs, Mark C. Mainwaring. 2022: Habitat selection by nestbox-breeding birds and Roe Deer are incongruent within a heterogeneous woodland landscape. Avian Research, 13(1): 100012. doi: 10.1016/j.avrs.2022.100012

Habitat selection by nestbox-breeding birds and Roe Deer are incongruent within a heterogeneous woodland landscape

doi: 10.1016/j.avrs.2022.100012
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  • Corresponding author: E-mail address: mark.mainwaring@mso.umt.edu (M. Mainwaring)
  • Received Date: 10 Feb 2021
  • Accepted Date: 12 Nov 2021
  • Publish Date: 26 Feb 2022
  • Conserving species relies upon acquiring an understanding of their use of habitat, yet our understanding of the use of habitat by co-existing species of different guilds at microgeographic scales remains poor. In particular, the use of habitat by woodland species is of conservation concern because of widespread declines in woodland biodiversity. Woodland bird declines have been ascribed, in part, to high deer densities because their browsing reduces the availability of nesting sites and food. We quantify the microgeographic use of habitat by Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus) and of Great Tits (Parus major), Blue Tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) and Pied Flycatchers (Ficedula hypoleuca) in a heterogenous woodland landscape. We examined the use of habitat at microgeographic scales by the deer and the three bird species in relation to whether the local habitat was flat or wet or had a path, fence or wall within a 25-m radius of 206 randomly selected locations. We first examined if the occupancy rates of nestboxes in those locations were correlated with the number of Roe Deer lays and second, examined if the use of habitat by the Roe Deer and the bird species were associated with each of the habitat features that we quantified. We begin by showing that the use of habitat by Roe Deer is incongruent with the use of habitat by Great Tits, Blue Tits and Pied Flycatchers during the breeding season. Also, whilst all three bird species showed no, or weak, habitat preferences, the Roe Deer preferred daytime lay sites that were in flat areas of wet woodland close to paths, whilst there were no significant effects of the presence of fences and walls. These findings show that the Roe Deer and the three bird species differ in the use of habitat within a heterogenous woodland landscape, meaning that their use of habitat did not overlap at microgeographic scales. Meanwhile, the deer showed preferences for flat areas of wet woodland, whilst none of the bird species exhibited such preferences, and we discuss the implications of our findings for the management of woodlands.


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