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Predator encounters have spatially extensive impacts on parental behaviour in a breeding bird community

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-09, 13:10 authored by Kadri Moks, Vallo Tilgar, Robert L. Thomson, Sara Calhim, Pauliina E. Järvistö, Wiebke SchuettWiebke Schuett, William Velmala, Toni Laaksonen
Predation risk has negative indirect effects on prey fitness, partly mediated through changes in behaviour. Evidence that individuals gather social information from other members of the population suggests that events in a community may impact the behaviour of distant individuals. However, spatially wide-ranging impacts on individual behaviour caused by a predator encounter elsewhere in a community have not been documented before. We investigated the effect of a predator encounter (hawk model presented at a focal nest) on the parental behaviour of pied flycatchers (Ficedula hypoleuca), both at the focal nest and at nearby nests different distances from the predator encounter. We show that nest visitation of both focal pairs and nearby pairs were affected, up to 3 h and 1 h, respectively. Parents also appeared to compensate initial disrupted feeding by later increasing nest visitation rates. This is the first evidence showing that the behaviour of nearby pairs was affected away from an immediate source of risk. Our results indicate that the impacts of short-term predator encounters may immediately extend spatially to the broader community, affecting the behaviour of distant individuals. Information about predators is probably quickly spread by cues such as intra- and heterospecific alarm calls, in communities of different taxa.


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  • Published


Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences




The Royal Society





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Department affiliated with

  • Evolution, Behaviour and Environment Publications

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  • Yes

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