Edge effects on nesting success have been documented in breeding birds in a variety of contexts, but there is still uncertainty in how edge type and spatial scale determine the magnitude and detectability of edge effects. Habitat edges are often viewed as predator corridors that surround or penetrate core habitat and increase the risk of predation for nearby nests. We studied the effects of three different types of potential predator corridors (main perimeter roads, field boundaries, and ATV trails within fields) on waterfowl nest survival in California. We measured the distance from duck nests to the nearest edge of each type, and used distance as a covariate in a logistic exposure analysis of nest survival. We found only weak evidence for edge effects due to predation. The best supported model of nest survival included all three distance categories, and while all coefficient estimates were positive (indicating that survival increased with distance from edge), 85% coefficient confidence intervals approached or bounded zero indicating an overall weak effect of habitat edges on nest success. We suggest that given the configuration of edges at our site, there may be few areas far enough from hard edges to be considered ‘core’ habitat, making edge effects on nest survival particularly difficult to detect.
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Vol. 103 • No. 2