White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) were videotaped depredating four songbird nests in grassland habitats in southeastern and northcentral North Dakota, 1996-1999. Deer ate two Savannah sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis), two grasshopper sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum), one clay-colored sparrow (Spizella pallida), one red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) and three brown-headed cowbird (Molothrus ater) nestlings. Deer removed nestlings quickly (5-19 sec/nest) at night (22:00 to 05:17 Central Daylight Time) and left no evidence of predation. Although probably opportunistic, deer predations clearly were deliberate and likely are more common than generally believed.
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White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) predation on grassland songbird nestlings