The Effects Of Predation Risk On A Free Living Population Of Song Sparrows

The Effects Of Predation Risk On A Free Living Population Of Song Sparrows

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An assessment was done by Zannette and Colleagues in 2011 to observe the effects of perceived predation risk in a free-living population of song sparrows. The sparrows were found on several of the small Gulf Islands (British Columbia, Canada) (Zannette et al. 2011).
The focus was only on perceived predation consequently direct predation was eliminated. The method to eliminate the direct killing by a predator was by electrifying nests and barricading the nests with seine nets. In order to ensure that direct predation was strictly prevented, video surveillance system was incorporated into the experiment to watch over the nests.
To trigger the songbirds to predation risk, the researchers prepared playlists of the sounds of predator combined with a non-predator e.g. raven caw with a goose honk (Zannette et al. 2011). The reason why sound was chosen by the researchers for the study was because sound is transmitted efficiently through space relative to ocular signals or smell (Zannette et al. 2011). Sound is a suitable technique to expose wild animals to experimental predation cues since it travels a lot of distance hence it can cover a large area (Zannette et al. 2011).
Habituation is the action where organisms become accustomed to something. In order to prevent “habituation” the sound speakers were attached to trees at a height of 1.3m, and at regular intervals the speakers were moved to different trees and placed in different angles (Zannette et al. 2011). The volume at which the speakers were assigned (90 dB at 1 m) was inspected every time they were relocated, utilizing a sound pressure level meter. In this way the sparrows knew that the sounds were not coming from the same source all the time. Playbacks were broadcast 24 h...


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...r and bigger products were produced when situations involved facing predation challenges (Zanette et al. 2011).
There are other evidences of Predator-induced stress, such as in the case of dogs and snowshoe hares (Clinchy et al. 2012). In a study done, the dog acted as a predator to expecting snowshoe hares and the presence of the dog stimulated the rise of excremental glucocorticoid metabolite concentrations in pregnant hares and the hares had less likelihood to give birth to alive offspring (Clinchy et al. 2012).
The experiment of exposure to predator signal stimulates ‘sustained psychological stress’ in animals and the intimidation instilled in preys is referred to as ‘ecology of fear ‘(Clinchy et al. 2012). Preys’ recognition of predation risk affects the population growth of the free wild animals significantly found through studies (Clinchy et al. 2012).

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