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Fontaine, J.J., and T.E. Martin. 2006. Habitat selection responses of parents to offspring predation risk: an experimental test. American Naturalist 168:811-818.


The ability of nest predation to influence habitat settlement decisions in birds is widely debated, despite its importance in limiting fitness. Here, we experimentally manipulated nest predation risk across a landscape and asked the question, do migratory birds assess and respond to variation in nest predation risk when choosing breeding habitats? We examined habitat preference by quantifying the density and settlement date of eight species of migratory passerines breeding in areas with and without intact nest predator communities. We found consistently more individuals nesting in areas with reduced nest predation than in areas with intact predator assemblages, although predation risk had no influence on settlement or breeding phenology. Additionally, those individuals occupying safer nesting habitats exhibited increased singing activity. These findings support a causal relationship between habitat choice and nest predation risk and suggest the importance of nest predation risk in shaping avian community structure and breeding activity.


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Federal Staff: 2

Masters Students: 9

Phd Students: 9

Post Docs: 0

University Staff: 17

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 7

Scientific Publications: 52

Presentations: 41



October (4th Quarter/Autumn) 2006


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Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit Cooperators

  1. Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks
  2. The University of Montana
  3. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  4. U.S. Geological Survey
  5. Wildlife Management Institute