Identifying nest predators is critical to understanding predation pressures that birds face, and using surveillance cameras appears to be the most reliable method of nest predator identification. However, presence and methods of using camera equipment may introduce bias in predation rates. To summarize potential effects of cameras on nest success we reviewed published and unpublished studies that estimated daily nest predation for bird nests with and without surveillance cameras. We used meta-analyses to quantitatively synthesize the direction and magnitude of these effects from independent studies. We found evidence that, on average, use of camera equipment may reduce nest predation rates, although these differences were not always significant and varied relative to geographic regions, vegetation types, and study duration. Researchers using camera surveillance to monitor nests must be aware that the equipment may be affecting rates of predation and possibly biasing data collected on predator identity. Based on our review and analysis, we provide recommendations for researchers seeking to minimize or control for potential bias when using surveillance cameras to monitor nest predation.
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Vol. 73 • No. 2