Time-lapse video photography has become a valuable tool for collecting data on avian nest activity and depredation; however, commercially available systems are expensive (>USA $4000/unit). We designed an inexpensive system to identify causes of nest failure of American Oystercatchers (Haematopus palliatus) and assessed its utility at Cumberland Island National Seashore, Georgia. We successfully identified raccoon (Procyon lotor), bobcat (Lynx rufus), American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos), and ghost crab (Ocypode quadrata) predation on oystercatcher nests. Other detected causes of nest failure included tidal overwash, horse trampling, abandonment, and human destruction. System failure rates were comparable with commercially available units. Our system's efficacy and low cost (<$800) provided useful data for the management and conservation of the American Oystercatcher.
Additional publication details
A simple, inexpensive video camera setup for the study of avian nest activity