Effects of island isolation and feral mink removal on bird communities (Alca torda) on small islands in the Baltic Sea

Razorbill (Alca torda) Science Article 7

abstract

1.) Predation has been suggested as a major cause affecting survival, reproductive success and behaviour in vertebrate prey populations. The breeding season is a critical phase because the essential difference between selecting the proper nest site may be a question of breeding success and failure. 2.) Islands may serve as refuges for ground-nesting birds against natural mammalian predators. However, many of the bird species breeding on islands are currently threatened by introduced predators because they may lack mechanisms to confront the threats of the new predator. 3.) We studied the combined effects of an introduced generalist predator, American mink ( Mustela vison Schreb.), and island isolation and size on species richness, abundance and equitability of birds breeding on small islands in the outer archipelago of SW Finland, Baltic Sea. The study comprised two mink removal areas (one during 1993-2001 and the other during 1998-2001) and two comparable control areas (during 1994-2001 and 1998-2001), each covering 72-130 km 2 , of which between 1,07 and 1,27 km 2 were land area. The mean island size in all areas was < 2 ha. [...]

Mik l Nordstrom and Erkki Korpimaki, Journal of Animal Ecology (2004) 73 , 424-433

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