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Ruddy Turnstones, Great Horned Owls, and Egg Loss from Common Tern Clutches
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Ruddy Turnstones, Great Horned Owls, and Egg Loss from Common Tern Clutches

Author: Ralph D Morris; David A Wiggins
Edition/Format: Article Article : English
Publication:The Wilson Bulletin, v98 n1 (19860301): 101-109
Summary:
In two successive years, eggs of Common Terns (Sterna hirundo) disappeared or were found freshly perforated only from clutches initiated relatively early in the breeding season. Most of the losses were of single eggs from which an incubating adult was temporarily absent. Diurnal dreads of adult terns coincided with evidence of nocturnal predation by Great Horned Owls (Bubo virginianus). Ruddy Turnstones (Arenaria  Read more...
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Document Type: Article
All Authors / Contributors: Ralph D Morris; David A Wiggins
ISSN:0043-5643
Language Note: English
Unique Identifier: 5550644639
Awards:

Abstract:

In two successive years, eggs of Common Terns (Sterna hirundo) disappeared or were found freshly perforated only from clutches initiated relatively early in the breeding season. Most of the losses were of single eggs from which an incubating adult was temporarily absent. Diurnal dreads of adult terns coincided with evidence of nocturnal predation by Great Horned Owls (Bubo virginianus). Ruddy Turnstones (Arenaria interpres) were observed breaking open and eating the contents of Common Tern eggs. We consider various explanations of the timing and pattern of egg loss. Circumstantial evidence supports the suggestion that nocturnal disturbance by owls at a time when Ruddy Turnstones are present at the colony may increase the risk of daytime predation by turnstones on tern eggs.

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In two successive years, eggs of Common Terns (Sterna hirundo) disappeared or were found freshly perforated only from clutches initiated relatively early in the breeding season. Most of the losses were of single eggs from which an incubating adult was temporarily absent. Diurnal dreads of adult terns coincided with evidence of nocturnal predation by Great Horned Owls (Bubo virginianus). Ruddy Turnstones (Arenaria interpres) were observed breaking open and eating the contents of Common Tern eggs. We consider various explanations of the timing and pattern of egg loss. Circumstantial evidence supports the suggestion that nocturnal disturbance by owls at a time when Ruddy Turnstones are present at the colony may increase the risk of daytime predation by turnstones on tern eggs.

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