Open Access
How to translate text using browser tools
1 July 2005 Nest Site Selection in the Urban Population of Blackbirds Turdus merula of Szczecin (NW Poland)
Dariusz Wysocki
Author Affiliations +

Nest site selection in the Blackbird was investigated in two urban parks in Szczecin from 1997 to 2003. The age structure of the tree stands, the area of shrub coverage and the number of predators (apart from squirrels) were similar in both parks. 95% of the nests discovered at the beginning of the breeding season were found again in June and July. Any increase in the heights of the nest sites in successive periods of the breeding season and any changes in the type of vegetation selected for nest construction were recorded. In April, Blackbirds most often used coniferous trees. At the start of the season, when deciduous plants began sprouting leaves, Blackbirds preferred those whose leaves appeared earlier. But later in the season, no difference was found between the numbers of nests in trees developing their crowns earlier or later. The shorter period of nest use in conifers is probably due to their selective penetration by corvids. The selective penetration of such trees by predators probably reduces the frequency of nest building in them between the first (pentads 1–3) and second (pentads 4–6) period of the breeding season, despite the fact that they provide better concealment for nests. The selection of nest sites by the Blackbirds in this study confirms both the predator-pressure and the nest-concealment hypotheses.



L. B. Best 1978. Field sparrow reproductive success and nesting ecology. Auk 95: 9–22. Google Scholar


B. T. Brown , J. W. Goertz 1978. Reproduction and nest site selection by red-winged blackbird in north Louisiana. Wilson Bull. 90: 261–270. Google Scholar


W. Cresswell 1997. Nest predation: The relative effects of nest characteristics, clutch size and parental behaviour. Anim. Behav. 53: 93–103. Google Scholar


A. Dyrcz 1969. The ecology of the Song Thrush and Blackbird during the breeding season in an area of their joint occurrence. Ekol. Pol. Ser. A, 17: 735–793. Google Scholar


W. Forstmeister , I. Weiss 2004. Adaptive plasticity in the nestsite selection in response to changing predation risk. Oikos 104: 487–499. Google Scholar


U. N. Glutz von Blotzheim, K. Bauer, E. Bezzel 1982. Handbuch der Vögel Mitteleuropas. Frankfurt/M. Google Scholar


A. Gregoire , S. Garnier , N. Dreano , B. Faivre 2003. Nest predation in Blackbirds (Turdus merula) and the influence of nest characteristics.Ornis Fennica 80: 1–10. Google Scholar


B. J. Kentish , P. Dann , K. W. Lowe 1995. Breeding biology of the Common Blackbird Turdus merula in Australia. Emu 95: 233–244. Google Scholar


Z. Kosiński 2001. The breeding ecology of the Greenfinch Carduelis chloris in urban conditions (study in Krotoszyn, W Poland). Acta Ornithol. 36: 111–121. Google Scholar


D. Lack 1954. The Natural Regulation of Animal Numbers. Oxford Univ. Press. Google Scholar


E. Ludvig , L. Vanicsek , J. Török , T. Csörgö 1995. The effect of nest-height on the seasonal pattern of breeding success in blackbirds Turdus merula. Ardea 83: 411–418. Google Scholar


J. Marchant , R. Hudson , S. P. Carter , P. A. Whittington 1990. Population trends of British breeding birds. BTO, Tring. Google Scholar


T. E. Martin 1992. Interaction of nest predation and food limitation in reproductive strategies. Curr. Ornithol. 9: 163–197. Google Scholar


H. F. Mayfield 1975. Suggestions for calculating nest success. Wilson Bull. 87: 456–466. Google Scholar


A. P. Møller 1988. Nest predation and nest site choice in passerine birds in habitat patches of different size: a study of magpies and blackbirds. Oikos 53: 215–221. Google Scholar


I. Newton 1998. Population limitation in birds. Academic Press. Google Scholar


J. Pikula , M. Beklova 1983. Nidobiology of Turdus merula. Acta Sc. Nat. Brno 17: 1–46. Google Scholar


R. E. Ricklefs 1969. An analysis of nesting mortality in birds. Smithson. Contrib. Zool. 9: 1–48. Google Scholar


L. Schwabl 1983. Auspragung und bedeutung des Teilzugverhaltens einer sudwestdeutschen Population der Amsel Turdus merula. J. Ornithol. 124: 101–116. Google Scholar


D. W. Snow 1958. A Study of Blackbirds. London, British Museum. Google Scholar


G. A. Sonerud , P. E. Field 1987. Long-term memory in egg predators: an experiment with a Hooded Crow. Ornis Scand. 18: 323–324. Google Scholar


L. Svensson 1992. Identification Guide to European Passerines. Stockholm. Google Scholar


L. Tomiałojć 1993. Breeding ecology of the Blackbird Turdus merula studied in the primeval forest of Białowieża (Poland). Part I. Breeding numbers, distribution and nest sites. Acta Ornithol. 27: 131–157. Google Scholar


M. Vogrin 2000. Nest height and nesting losses of rural and urban Blackbirds Turdus merula. Ornis Svecica 10: 149–154. Google Scholar


T. Wesołowski , A. Czapulak 1986. [Breeding biology of Blackbirds (Turdus merula) and Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos) in Poland — preliminary results of Polish nest records scheme]. Notatki Ornitol. 27: 31–59. Google Scholar


D. Wysocki 2001. [Breeding avifauna of the Żeromski Park in Szczecin]. In: P. Indykiewicz , T. Barczak , G. Kaczorowski (eds). [Biodiversity and ecology of animal populations in urban environments]. NICE, Bydgoszcz, pp. 197–200. Google Scholar


D. Wysocki 2004a. Age structure of an urban population of Blackbirds (Turdus merula) in Szczecin (NW Poland). Zoologica Poloniae 49: 219–227. Google Scholar


D. Wysocki 2004b. Alternative mating strategies in an urban population of European Blackbird (Turdus merula) in Szczecin (NW Poland). Ardea 92: 103–107. Google Scholar


D. Wysocki 2004c. Nest reusing in Blackbirds — the way for the safe breeding? Acta Ornithol. 39: 164–168. Google Scholar


D. Wysocki , J. Adamowicz , R. Kościów , P. Śmietana 2004. Breeding territory in an urban population of European Blackbird Turdus merula. Ornis Fennica 81: 1–12. Google Scholar


D. Wysocki , K. Walasz 2004. Two Blackbird females sharing the same nest. Acta Ornithol. 39: 47–49. Google Scholar
Dariusz Wysocki "Nest Site Selection in the Urban Population of Blackbirds Turdus merula of Szczecin (NW Poland)," Acta Ornithologica 40(1), 61-69, (1 July 2005).
Received: 1 September 2004; Accepted: 1 March 2005; Published: 1 July 2005
nest site selection
Turdus merula
urban population
Back to Top