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      Food supplementation does not increase demographic rates in a passerine species of conservation concern

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      Nature Conservation

      Pensoft Publishers

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          Abstract

          Numerous studies have examined the effects of the provision of supplementary food on aspects of avian reproductive success, but far fewer have gone on to examine the potential positive effects of food supplementation on the demographic rates which are key for population growth rate. Testing for potential effects of food shortage on vital rates is likely to be particularly important in species of high conservation concern, where populations are particularly small, isolated or decreasing rapidly. Here we test the effects of the provision of supplementary food on reproductive success, body condition at fledging and post-fledging survival of ring ouzels (Turdus torquatus), a species of high conservation concern in the UK. However, food supplementation had no detectable effect on any of these parameters. There was no significant difference in return rates of fed and unfed fledglings in the year following hatching, and most post-fledging mortality was apparently caused by predation by raptors and mustelids. We conclude that the supply of invertebrate food sources for nestlings was not a major limiting factor in our study area, at least during this two-year study. Further studies are required to quantify the precise mix of habitats used by ring ouzels, at the appropriate scale, which provide concealment from predators and access to food supplies throughout the spring and summer months.

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          Most cited references 34

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          Uninformative Parameters and Model Selection Using Akaike's Information Criterion

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            AVIAN LIFE HISTORY VARIATION AND CONTRIBUTION OF DEMOGRAPHIC TRAITS TO THE POPULATION GROWTH RATE

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              Effects of Population Density and Supplemental Food on Reproduction in Song Sparrows

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Conservation
                NC
                Pensoft Publishers
                1314-3301
                1314-6947
                May 05 2015
                May 05 2015
                : 10
                : 25-43
                Article
                10.3897/natureconservation.10.4556
                © 2015

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