24 Mandeville Rise

Herts, United Kingdom

24 Mandeville Rise

Herts, United Kingdom
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Broughton R.K.,UK Center for Ecology and Hydrology | Hebda G.,University of Opole | Maziarz M.,UK Center for Ecology and Hydrology | Smith K.W.,24 Mandeville Rise | And 2 more authors.
Bird Study | Year: 2015

Capsule There is no evidence of widespread significant nest-site competition in Britain or the Western Palearctic between cavity-nesting birds and bumblebees or social wasps.Aims To investigate competition between cavity-nesting birds and bumblebees and wasps, particularly the range-expanding Tree Bumblebee, Saxon Wasp and European Hornet in Britain, and review evidence throughout the Western Palearctic.Methods We compared field data from English and Polish studies of tits and woodpeckers breeding in nest-boxes and/or tree holes to assess nest-site competition with bumblebees and wasps. We reviewed the literature quantifying nest-site competition between birds and these insects in the Western Palearctic.Results Bumblebees and wasps are capable of usurping small passerines from nests. In England, these insects commandeered a mean annual 4.1% of tit nests initiated in nest-boxes; occurrence of hornets showed a long-term increase, but not other wasps or bumblebees. Across the Western Palearctic, insect occupation of nest-boxes was generally low, and was lower in England than in Poland. No insects were discovered in tree cavities, including those created by woodpeckers (Picidae).Conclusion Nest-site competition between cavity-nesting birds and bumblebees and wasps appears to be a nest-box phenomenon, which may occasionally interfere with nest-box studies, but appears negligible in natural nest-sites. © 2015 British Trust for Ornithology.

Charman E.C.,Royal Society for the Protection of Birds | Smith K.W.,24 Mandeville Rise | Dillon I.A.,Royal Society for the Protection of Birds | Dodd S.,Royal Society for the Protection of Birds | And 4 more authors.
Bird Study | Year: 2012

Capsule The breeding success of Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers Dendrocopos minor is now lower in England than previously reported and also lower than found in studies elsewhere in Europe. Aims To quantify the breeding success and identify the causes of nest failure. To test the hypotheses that breeding success is related to aspects of food limitation and parental care, and inclement weather during the nesting period, or to interactions with Great Spotted Woodpeckers. Methods Nests were monitored in three regions of England, recording survival and causes of failure. We measured aspects of food limitation and parental care, rainfall and Great Spotted Woodpecker interactions at nests, to explore whether there was any evidence that these factors were related to breeding success. We compared results to other studies from the UK and continental Europe. Results Nest survival was 52%. The average number of chicks produced from successful nests was 2.8. Chick-stage daily nest survival was positively related to provisioning rates, indicating that food supply may be limiting. The most common cause of nest failure was presumed starvation of chicks after the disappearance of an adult. Some females ceased visiting nests, leaving provisioning solely to the male. This behaviour has been reported elsewhere in Europe, but in the present study males were unable to compensate fully by increasing their provisioning rates, leading to poor nest survival. Provisioning rates and chick-stage daily nest survival were negatively associated with rainfall. Nest predation by Great Spotted Wood peckers occurred but was a less frequent cause of failure. Aggressive interactions were recorded between the two woodpecker species but these were unrelated to breeding parameters. Conclusions Low breeding success is most probably related to food shortages in the breeding period. Simple population modelling using parameters from the present study and from published work shows that if the low productivity that we have observed is replicated throughout Britain, it would be sufficient to account for the observed population decline. However, the possibility that survival rates are also low cannot be ruled out. © 2012 British Trust for Ornithology.

Charman E.C.,Conservation Science | Smith K.W.,24 Mandeville Rise | Dodd S.,Conservation Science | Gruar D.J.,Conservation Science | Dillon I.A.,Conservation Science
Ornis Fennica | Year: 2012

Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers Dendrocopos minor have dramatically declined and retracted in range in Britain. Pre-breeding foraging may be critical and, although work has been carried out elsewhere in Europe our knowledge of habitat requirements for British birds is limited.We aim to describe foraging behaviour and selection of foraging locations in the pre-breeding period; and to provide descriptions of nest sites and wider habitat selection for nesting.We recorded foraging behaviour, attributes of foraging trees and nest site characteristics and compared them with random areas within woods. Small branches of live oaks at heights usually in the upper third of the tree were most frequently used for foraging. At a wider scale, areas selected contained more deadwood. Nest cavities were usually placed in the upper half of a tree, and oak was commonly used. For nesting, open areas were selected with more dead trees and a mature structure. Many of the attributes important for foraging and nesting have changed in English woodlands in the direction expected to have negative impacts on this species, except for deadwood. Further work shouldmeasure food availability in areas of differing structures. Knowledge of declining species' resource requirements allows targeted and informed management for conservation.

Smith K.W.,24 Mandeville Rise | Smith L.,24 Mandeville Rise | Charman E.,RSPB | Briggs K.,1 Washington Drive | And 6 more authors.
Bird Study | Year: 2011

Capsule Frass fall was later and of longer duration in woods to the north and west of Britain compared with those in the southeast. Aims Defoliating caterpillars are a major food resource for woodland breeding birds and our aims were to quantify large-scale patterns in the timing and duration of the spring peak in abundance of these caterpillars in oak woodlands in Britain. Methods We deployed traps to collect caterpillar frass at regular intervals through spring in 19 oak woods distributed through England, Wales and Scotland. Models of the temporal patterns of the rate of frass fall were used to explore relationships with geographic variables and average local temperature. Results The date of peak frass fall in 2010 ranged from 20 May to 18 June and was significantly related to altitude, latitude and local April-May temperature. The duration of the peak ranged from 20 to 53 days and was correlated with the date of the peak and April-May temperature. Limited data from 2008 and 2009 indicated considerable between-year variation in the date of the peak, which was consistent with the relationship with local temperature found in 2010. Conclusions The date of peak frass fall was later and the duration of the peak longer in the north and west of Britain compared with the southeast which will have considerable implications for nesting woodland birds such as Pied Flycatchers. The date of the peak was well modelled by local April-May temperature offering the prospect of good predictive models. However, the duration of the peak was less well modelled by local temperature and may be determined by other factors. © 2011 British Trust for Ornithology.

Smith K.W.,24 Mandeville Rise | Charman E.C.,RSPB
British Birds | Year: 2012

The Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos minor is in serious decline in Britain and in many other countries in northwest Europe. In this paper we review the recent research on the species in Britain and elsewhere in Europe, and discuss the conservation implications of this work. The breeding success of Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers in Britain is currently lower than reported previously and is also lower than that found in recent studies in Germany and Sweden. The proximate cause of this low breeding success appears to be chick starvation but more work is needed on the ecology of the species in the prebreeding and breeding periods to identify the ultimate cause. ©British Birds.

Smith K.W.,24 Mandeville Rise | Smith L.,24 Mandeville Rise
Bird Study | Year: 2013

Capsule The provision of supplementary food in early spring led to an advance in laying date and increased productivity for the Great Spotted Woodpecker. Aims To use the experimental provision of supplementary food in the prebreeding period to investigate the role of food supply in determining laying date, subsequent synchrony with natural food availability and the impact on productivity for the Great Spotted Woodpecker. Methods Supplementary food in the form of fat blocks was provided at 13 feeding stations distributed over half of a 100-ha study wood from early February until late April 2011 with the other half of the wood left unfed. The breeding parameters (first egg date, clutch size, number of young fledged per nest and nest success) of Great Spotted Woodpeckers were monitored throughout the wood and data from the fed and unfed zones compared. The same breeding parameters collected throughout the wood in the five preceding years (2006-10) when there was no supplementary feeding were used to provide control data. The temporal pattern in the abundance of the main natural prey was monitored using caterpillar frass traps. Results In 2011, the mean first egg date for woodpecker nests in the fed zone of the wood was 4-5 days earlier than for those nests in the unfed zone. Nests in the fed zone were almost twice as productive as those in the unfed zone even though the supplementary feeding stopped before the main period of chick rearing. There were no differences in the breeding parameters in the two zones of the wood in the control years when there was no supplementary feeding. 2011 was a very warm spring and the natural prey abundance peaked very early so that none of the woodpeckers were well synchronized with their main breeding season prey. However, the small advancement in first egg date meant the supplemented birds were better synchronized than the controls. Conclusion The response of Great Spotted Woodpeckers to supplementary feeding suggests they may be limited in their ability to shift their breeding period to maintain synchrony with their natural prey in the breeding season. This has important implications for the response of the birds to warm springs which are expected to be more frequent under future climate change. Use of garden feeders by Great Spotted Woodpeckers has the potential to increase breeding success and may be one of the many factors contributing to their current population increase. © 2013 Copyright British Trust for Ornithology.

Recent studies have suggested that the wing lengths of British Great Spotted Woodpeckers Dendrocopos major anglicus are more variable than originally thought and raised questions about the occurrence of continental races of Great Spotted Woodpeckers in Britain. In this study, wing-length data from the British Trust for Ornithology database were used to explore in more detail the patterns of occurrence of long-winged birds. Because of the larger sample size, the range (122-141 mm) is bigger than that quoted in standard texts and overlaps that for the nominate continental race D. m. major and also D. m. pinetorum. Only in extreme cases is it possible to determine the race of an individual bird on wing length alone, although patterns of occurrence of long-winged birds are informative. There was an excess of long-winged birds (>139 mm) trapped at all east-coast sites, particularly in Scotland and in the irruption year of 2001/02. In non-irruption years, there was an excess of long-winged birds at east-coast sites in Scotland but not elsewhere. The origin of these long-winged birds is still unclear but is most likely to involve birds from Scandinavia. Measurements of other characters, such as bill length and depth, may throw more light on this and help decide whether distinct subspecies exist, rather than there being a cline from western Europe through Scandinavia to Siberia. © 2010 British Trust for Ornithology.

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