Are nest boxes a useful tool in regional red squirrel conservation programs?
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Honorary Visiting Research Fellow, School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography, Bangor University, Bangor, Gwynedd
School of Biology, Newcastle University, Ridley Building 2, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU
Publication date: 2014-12-15
Hystrix It. J. Mamm. 2014;25(2):91-94
We examined temporal (annual and seasonal) patterns of nest box occupancy by red squirrels in a coniferous habitat in Great Britain. The effects of woodland habitat variation, and competition from nesting Great tits were investigated over a nine year period using basic linear models with a binomial error structure. Box use varied seasonally with peaks in the summer and autumn and was positively associated with the abundance of larch. 60 nest boxes yielded nine red squirrel carcasses, and although a small number, the material would be useful in genetic and viral infection studies. Nest boxes were not favoured by breeding female red squirrels and only three litters were found. We highlight the value and limitation of nest boxes as a tool in the applied conservation of red squirrels, and make recommendations for future areas of research on this topic.
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