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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Evaluation of the Moisture-Facilitated, Nest Depredation Hypothesis in a Semi-Arid Environment

Authors
item Pleasant, G - TX PARKS & WILDLIFE DEPT
item Dabbert, C - TEXAS TECH UNI
item Mitchell, Robert

Submitted to: The Wilson Bulletin
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 10, 2003
Publication Date: September 1, 2003
Citation: Pleasant, G.D., Dabbert, C.B., Mitchell, R. 2003. Evaluation of the moisture-facilitated, nest depredation hypothesis in a semi-arid environment. The Wilson Bulletin. 115:343-346.

Interpretive Summary: This study evaluated the moisture-facilitated, nest depredation hypothesis for scaled quail in the Southern High Plains of Texas. This hypothesis states that moisture may increase scent production of nesting hens. Consequently, nest predation should occur on or shortly after days that receive rainfall. We monitored 102 nests until they either hatched or were predated. Nest mortalities occurred on 30 different days and precipitation fell on 51 days during the two-year study. Our data indicate that rainfall is actually negatively associated with nest predation. Our data do not support the moisture-facilitated nest depredation hypothesis for scaled quail in the semi-arid, Southern High Plains of Texas.

Technical Abstract: We evaluated the moisture-facilitated, nest depredation hypothesis in a semiarid environment in the Southern High Plains of Texas in 1999 and 2000. Scaled Quail (Callipepla squamata) provided an excellent model species for this evaluation because they typically suffer significant nest mortality and inhabit semiarid to xeric environments. We monitored 102 nests until they either hatched or were predated. Nest mortalities occurred on 30 days and precipitation fell on 51 days during the two-year study. Stepwise logistic regression revealed a predictive relationship for a model with central precipitation on the day of nest predation as a predictor. However, in contrast to our predictions, the equation indicates precipitation is actually negatively associated with nest predation in this data set. Thus, our data do not support the moisture-facilitated nest depredation hypothesis for Scaled Quail in the semi-arid, Southern High Plains of Texas.

Last Modified: 8/29/2014
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