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Environ Manage. 2003 Jan;31(1):79-85.

Impact of busy roads on breeding success in pied flycatchers Ficedula hypoleuca.

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  • 1University of Jyväskylä, Department of Biological and Environmental Science, P.O. Box 35, FIN-40014 University of Jyväskylä, Finland.


The impact of dense traffic on the breeding success in pied flycatchers (Ficedula hypoleuca) was studied using roadside nest-boxes. Nest site selection and breeding success of flycatchers were observed in relation to the distance from the road. The number of occupied territories was no higher closer to the road than it was deeper inside the forest. The distance to the road had no effect on the laying date, clutch size, or brood size. However, nests closer to the road were more likely to fail at the chick stage. The number of broods that were closer to roads and were lost completely was significantly higher than those further away. As a consequence, the number of fledglings per breeding attempt decreased closer to roads. The nestlings typically died as older chicks when the parent birds were providing them with maximum quantities of food. A possible reason for the declining reproductive success was the traffic-related mortality of parent birds, as weather conditions were not especially adverse for raising healthy offspring.

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