Nests of 5 species of wading birds were identified and marked during the breeding season at 6 locations from Massachusetts to North Carolina. At the end of the breeding season 12 characteristics of nest-site location were measured. Nest locations were mapped to examine dispersion and nearest neighbor relationships. Multivariate analyses were used to describe and compare sites and species.....We found that variations in nest-sites between colonies were greater than between species; colonies differed mainly in the variety and size of vegetation; birds preferred to nest in vegetation that offered relatively stable nest-sites; and the dispersion of nests in the colonies was related to vegetative patterns. The interaction of these factors with the number of bird species and the abundance of birds in the colony seemed to determine whether nest-sites were stratified, segregated or randomly distributed.
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Nest-size and colony characteristics of wading birds in selected Atlantic Coast colonies