Nest Defense Behavior Carolina Wrens Urban - Cats
Joint meeting of the Animal Behavior Society & International Ethological Conference
NEST DEFENSE BEHAVIOR BY CAROLINA WRENS (THRYOTHORUS LUDOVICIANUS) IN AN URBAN ENVIRONMENT.
Ashley Bogrand, Diane Neudorf
Sam Houston State University, United States
We tested the hypothesis tested that Carolina Wrens can discern between different nest predators that they may encounter in an urban environment. The study was conducted in residential yards in the city of Huntsville, Walker County, TX where domestic and feral cats are common. We compared responses of parent birds to mounts of a feral cat (Felis catus), a Texas rat snake (Elaphe obsolete lindheimeri), and a cardboard box (control) placed near the nest during the nestling stage. Wrens emitted a variety of alarm calls towards mounts and spent more time close to nest predators than the control. Rasp alarm calls were given in response to both the cat and snake whereas cheer calls were given only toward the cat. The control received very little response. Preliminary findings indicate that Carolina Wrens in urban environments can distinguish between potential nest predators and may use different alarm calls accordingly.