ABS 2022
Singing on the Nest and Nest Predation in Northern Mockingbirds
Madison P. Burkardt, Christine M. Stracey. Guilford College, Greensboro, NC, United States

Singing on the nest (SOTN) is a behavior observed in over 60 avian species in which adult birds sing while incubating. This behavior is considered paradoxical because the sound of the adult singing could draw attention to the location of the nest, thus putting the eggs or nestlings in danger of predation. While existing literature describes SOTN, no experimental research has been published that analyzes the impact of this behavior on nest predation. To add to this body of research, we performed an artificial nest experiment on northern mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) nests on college campuses in Greensboro, North Carolina. Audio clips of mockingbird song were broadcasted near recently fledged nests containing artificial eggs to simulate an active nest where SOTN is present. Rates of egg predation were recorded in nests that had SOTN and were compared to nests with no song. Preliminary data from the first research season showed no significant difference in nest predation between nests with song and nests with no song. We will expand these findings with additional trials in the Spring 2022 breeding season.