From 1993-1995, we located and monitored 601 Acadian Flycatcher (Empidonax virescens) nests in a large contiguous tract of bottomland hardwood forest on the White River National Wildlife Refuge, Arkansas. Annual reproductive success was significantly different among years; ranging from 10-25% (Mayfield estimate) over the three years of the study. There was no significant difference in nest success among study plots, with nesting success showing a trend of increasing late in the breeding season. Clutch size for non-parasitized nests averaged 2.9 ? 0.02 (SE) eggs with a mode of 3. Rates of Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) parasitism were low (21%), accounting for 7% of all nest failures. However, parasitism by cowbirds resulted in a reduction of clutch size for nests initiated early (i.e., first nests and replacements) in the breeding season. Predation was the leading cause of nest failures, accounting for 75% of all failures. Snakes and avian predators were thought to be the leading cause of nest failures. Although additional factors must be investigated, preliminary results indicate that nest predation is a major influence on this population, despite the size of the forest tract.
Additional publication details
Breeding biology of Acadian flycatchers in a bottomland hardwood forest