Nesting near road edges improves nest success and post-fledging survival of White-rumped Shamas (Copsychus malabaricus) in northeastern Thailand

Nesting near road edges improves nest success and post-fledging survival of White-rumped Shamas (Copsychus malabaricus) in northeastern Thailand

The article, “Nesting near road edges improves nest success and post-fledging survival of White-rumped Shamas (Copsychus malabaricus) in northeastern Thailand” deliberates on the issue of how the road edges in the temperate regions usually negatively affect the reproductive success, post-fledgling survival and migration or dispersal of forest birds in a process closely associated with the habitats near or around the forest edges. However, the main aim of the article is to unearth the less clear or understudied patterns in the tropics due to lack of studies as compared with those patterns in temperate zones. The authors, Rongrong et al. (2019) further states that the less clear and few studies in the tropical areas are due to inadequate studies deploying the use of natural nests as well as radio-tagged fledglings, and insufficient information on nest and fledgling predators. As such, the authors go-ahead to investigate the influence of road edge on nest success, post-fledgling survival, and dispersal of Copsychus malabaricus in the dry evergreen forest in deep northern Thailand. And this investigation makes the central idea of this analysis and evaluation paper.

The article exposes the kind of information and problem that shows how the interactions between the roads, nesting birds, and their predatory animals unfolds differently in Southeast Asia. The authors, Rongrong Angkaew of King Mongkut’s University of Technology and her colleagues who are accredited and recognized researchers undertakes the research by placing 100 nest boxes for the cavity-nesting Copsychus malabaricus deep in the forest interior (≤1,000 m) and the other 100 boxes near the forest edge (≤200 m) in the environmental research station in the northeast Thailand. Also, the research study involved monitoring nests and radio-tracking 25 fledglings from each site for seven weeks. In this study, the number and boxes were scientifically placed according to Khamcha et al. 2018 who in the previous scientific studies noted that, in Sakaerat, the vegetation within 350m from the edge had a significant difference from the interior.

Monitoring nests and radio-tracking 25 fledglings from each side i.e. the interior and near the forest edge, for a period of 7 weeks, yield results that nest success was by 12% higher as well as post-fledgling survival which was 24% higher at the edge as opposed to the interior: the opposite of the pattern usually observed in the temperate regions. The results on the various parameters such as survival of nests and fledglings were a representation of critical periods of the avian life cycle.

Also, the article denotes the other results that the predators caused 94% of the nest failures and 100% fledgling mortality as well as locally important predators of small birds, i.e. the green cat snakes, macaques, and the raptors which prefer to exploit the interior parts of the forest. Fledglings are preferred staying in the dense understory habitats, which are the right provider of cover from the predators, and they were more available near the roads. The results were accurate and tallied well with other to findings of other studies (e.g., Pierce and Pobprasert 2013, Sim et al. 2013, Giovanni et al. 2015).

The challenges encountered during the study were many such as while starting to set up the boxes, a lot of tracks and other signs of poaching and illegal poaching were indicative that we had to avoid some places. Avoiding these places was with an intent to reduce human disturbance in to the study boxes to achieve a critical level of the successful study in the percentage of nesting and fledging survival rates.

In conclusion, the study results are indicative that the effects of roads on the birds’ reproductive success depend on the local predator ecology and these factors do not directly apply to other biomes. The author, Angkaew and other co-authors hope that more study can be done on a few areas to improve this project for human ecological studies which will help point out the critical nest predators and other foraging behaviors.

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