Date of Award

5-2015

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis

Department

Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Jodie Jawor, Ph.D.

Advisor Department

Biological Sciences

Abstract

In the mid-nineteenth century, Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis, a native cavity nesting species) populations experienced serious declines because of a decrease in natural cavities and the introduction of non-native, competitive cavity nesting species. The creation of nest box programs led to an increase in bluebird populations and these programs continue to be of importance. In this study, a recycled metal ammunition can was used as a nest box to determine if this was a viable resource for bluebirds. This work investigated the effects of this alternate material nest box on nestling physiology and adult behavior with special emphasis on the impacts of temperature (metal boxes are assumed to be warmer). From mid-February through July 2014, behavioral observations and physiological data were collected at ammunition can and wooden nest boxes being used by bluebirds at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center in Hattiesburg, MS. There were no statistical significance differences between the wooden and ammunition can nest boxes for temperatures, female incubation rates, parental feeding rates, nestling growth measures, or nestling stress levels. However, it was found that offspring who were part of larger broods had higher stress levels and this may be linked to the lower feeding rates larger broods received. These results show that one nest box type was not significantly better than the other, validating the idea that an ammunition can nest box is a safe, alternative habitat for secondary cavity nesters. This may serve as a beneficial resource not only for the species using them but for the work load and finances of property managers deploying nest boxes of this type.

Included in

Biology Commons

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