Provisioning nest material for Rooks; a potential tool for conservation management

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Abstract

Active conservation measures often entail supplementing scarce resources, such as food or nesting site to high conservation value species. We hypothesized that adequate nest material in reasonable distance is a scarce resource for Rooks breeding in open grassland habitats of Hungary. Here we show that Rooks willingly utilize large quantities of provided excess nesting material, and that this procedure may alter nest composition, and increase the number of successful pairs. Our results show that while nest height remains constant, twig diameter is significantly larger, the number of twigs used per nest is presumably smaller, and that the ratio of nests with fledglings is higher in a rookery where supplementary twigs were present. Providing twigs and branches in the vicinity of rookeries may serve as an active conservation measure to increase the number of nests in a rookery, and thus the potential number of nesting possibilities for Red-footed Falcons.

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