Grassland predators

Photo courtesy US Fish & Wildlife
The population of dickcissels, a grassland bird, is declining nationwide. Habitat fragmentation is thought to be a key factor. Researchers monitored 33 dickcissel nests in a highly fragmented agricultural landscape in Nebraska and Iowa. They found that 20 nests were completely depredated and that three were partially depredated. The nest predators were:
-nine snakes
-six small mammals
-six raccoons
-two brown-headed cowbirds
-one American mink
One nest was abandoned because of ants. Nine of the 33 nests fledged young. The researchers found the number of snake predators notable.
The study appeared in the Wilson Journal of Ornithology.

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