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1.  Mesopredators constrain a top predator: competitive release of ravens after culling crows 
Biology Letters  2009;5(5):617-620.
Although predator control programmes rarely consider complex competitive interactions among predators, it is becoming clear that removal of larger ‘superior’ competitors often releases the ‘inferior’ ones and can precipitate trophic cascades. In contrast, our study indicates that culling hooded crows Corvus cornix appears to release a larger competitor, the common raven Corvus corax. Ravens ranged more widely, and the predation of artificial nests was significantly faster (although total predation was similar), after the removal of crows. Our study provides evidence of a novel reversal of competitive release where a larger species was freed from constraints imposed on its distribution and behaviour by a smaller species, and emphasizes the importance of considering community and ecosystem effects of predator manipulations when undertaken for conservation or game management.
PMCID: PMC2781970  PMID: 19570777
competitive release; intraguild predation; mesopredator release; predator control; territoriality
2.  Winter feeding of birds increases productivity in the subsequent breeding season 
Biology Letters  2008;4(2):220-223.
Supplementary food given to birds can have contemporary effects by reducing the risk of starvation, increasing survival and altering movements and reproductive performance. There is, however, a widely held perception that birds benefit from extra food over winter, but that it is better that they ‘look after themselves’ during breeding. Here we describe a landscape-scale experiment showing for the first time that the effects of increasing food availability only during the winter can be carried over to the subsequent breeding season. Even though food supplementation stopped six weeks prior to breeding, birds living on sites provisioned over winter had advanced laying dates and increased fledging success compared with birds living on unprovisioned sites. Thus, supplemental feeding of wild birds during winter, in a manner mimicking householders provisioning in gardens and backyards, has the potential to alter bird population dynamics by altering future reproductive performance. With levels of bird feeding by the public continuing to increase, the impacts of this additional food supply on wild bird populations may be considerable.
PMCID: PMC2429937  PMID: 18252663
supplementary feeding; foraging; avian reproduction; urbanization

Results 1-3 (3)