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Title

Foraging patch selection in winter: A balance between predation risk and thermoregulation benefit

AuthorsVillén Pérez, Sara ; Carrascal, Luis M. ; Seoane, Javier
Issue Date12-Jul-2013
PublisherPublic Library of Science
CitationPLoS ONE 8(7): e68448 (2013)
AbstractIn winter, foraging activity is intended to optimize food search while minimizing both thermoregulation costs and predation risk. Here we quantify the relative importance of thermoregulation and predation in foraging patch selection of woodland birds wintering in a Mediterranean montane forest. Specifically, we account for thermoregulation benefits related to temperature, and predation risk associated with both illumination of the feeding patch and distance to the nearest refuge provided by vegetation. We measured the amount of time that 38 marked individual birds belonging to five small passerine species spent foraging at artificial feeders. Feeders were located in forest patches that vary in distance to protective cover and exposure to sun radiation; temperature and illumination were registered locally by data loggers. Our results support the influence of both thermoregulation benefits and predation costs on feeding patch choice. The influence of distance to refuge (negative relationship) was nearly three times higher than that of temperature (positive relationship) in determining total foraging time spent at a patch. Light intensity had a negligible and no significant effect. This pattern was generalizable among species and individuals within species, and highlights the preponderance of latent predation risk over thermoregulation benefits on foraging decisions of birds wintering in temperate Mediterranean forests. © 2013 Villén-Pérez et al.
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/127792
DOI10.1371/journal.pone.0068448
Identifiersdoi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0068448
issn: 1932-6203
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