Nest predation and nest parasitism receive the most attention as causes of nest failure for North American songbirds. Yet for many populations, interspecific competition, adverse weather, abandonment, nestling starvation, and egg failure may also be significant causes of nest failure. Despite the long interest in differential failure, serious challenges remain in the estimation of separate probabilities of nest failure from different causes. Apparent rates of failure suffer from at least two sources of bias: heterogeneous ages at discovery and classification error. We developed maximum-likelihood estimators for cause-specific daily probabilities of nest failure. We further show how the estimators can be extended to include classification error, if known. Finally, we demonstrate a simple application to Loggerhead Shrikes (Lanius ludovicianus), Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor), Violet-green Swallows (T. thalassina), and Western Bluebirds (Sialia mexicana). Daily probabilities of survival were lower for the Loggherhead Shrike (0.978 ± 0.004) than for any of the three cavity-nesting species (range: 0.989 ± 0.002 − 0.993 ± 0.001). Weather was an important cause of nest failure for Loggerhead Shrikes (0.15 ± 0.05 overall). Conversely, competition among secondary cavity-nesters was not an important contributor to nest failure (range: 2–5% of nest failures) for bluebirds or swallows. Our estimator differs from others by allowing multiple fates to be modeled as separately estimated parameters rather than as covariates to a single estimated failure probability. Thus, our estimator should be viewed as an important complement to existing methods.
División del Riesgo Entre Diferentes Causas de Fracaso Durante la Nidificación