Studies of reproduction and habitat use are essential for any species assessment, especially for species with declining populations. We compared habitat in nest sites and randomly selected sites within Golden-winged Warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera) territories. We also modeled the effects of temporal and biotic factors on daily nest survival in relation to the constant-survival model. The percent cover of herbaceous vegetation was greater at nest sites, and that of woody vegetation was greater at non-nest sites. There was support for models with annual variation and a decline in nest survival throughout the nesting season, but the constant-survival model performed equally well. One parameter performed marginally better than the constant-survival model: nests with a woody stem in the substrate had lower nest-survival rates. We conclude that nest-site selection was nonrandom, such that females use specific criteria to select nest sites. However, habitat characteristics did not appear to significantly affect daily nest survival or, therefore, predation rates. Until factors that affect predation rates are better understood, conservation strategies that increase breeding habitat with specific nest-site features may be more successful than attempts to directly control nest survival.
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Vol. 125 • No. 3