In response to the critique by Schmidt and Whelan (Condor 101(4):916-920, 1999), we find that the relationship between nest success and tree selectivity is dependent upon inclusion or exclusion of particular tree species, whether or not years are pooled, and the selectivity index used. We question their use of point estimates of nest success with extremely high variances, defend our index, question the application of the Chesson (1983) index to our data, and explain the need to analyze years separately. Bottomland hardwood forest systems are extremely variable; hydroperiods alter the suitability of nesting substrates, availability of alternative food, and behavior of predators and their prey. Given these features, actively searching for Acadian Flycatcher (Empidonax virescens) nests is seldom an efficient predator foraging strategy. Therefore, these predation events are best described as random; nests are principally encountered opportunistically by generalist predators while searching for other prey.
Additional Publication Details
Does nonrandom nest placement imply nonrandom nest predation? - A reply