Baby songbirds in the nest face naturally tough odds. Unable to fly, they are easy prey for cats, snakes, and even other birds. But the perils don't end when the young birds venture out from the nest. Now, new research shows that the risks baby migratory songbirds face in the nest are not necessarily the same out of the nest. The findings may have important implications for migratory songbird conservation.
"For a lot of migratory songbird species, the current conservation goal for the breeding grounds is to produce more nestlings," said Julie Jenkins, an avian ecologist who led the study. "This strategy assumes that factors that are important for nest success are the same for juvenile post-fledging success."