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White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) Predation
on Grassland Songbird Nestlings

Pamela J. Pietz1 and Diane A. Granfors*


Abstract: White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) were videotaped depredating four songbird nests in grassland habitats in southeastern and northcentral North Dakota, 1996-1999. Deer ate two Savannah sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis), two grasshopper sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum), one clay-colored sparrow (Spizella pallida), one red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) and three brown-headed cowbird (Molothrus ater) nestlings. Deer removed nestlings quickly (5-19 sec/nest) at night (22:00 to 05:17 Central Daylight Time) and left no evidence of predation. Although probably opportunistic, deer predations clearly were deliberate and likely are more common than generally believed.
This resource is based on the following source (Northern Prairie Publication 1109):
Pietz, Pamela J., and Diane A. Granfors.  2000.  White-tailed deer 
     (Odocoileus virginianus) predation on grassland songbird nestlings.  
     American Midland Naturalist 144(2):419-422.

This resource should be cited as:

Pietz, Pamela J., and Diane A. Granfors.  2000.  White-tailed deer 
     (Odocoileus virginianus) predation on grassland songbird nestlings.  
     American Midland Naturalist 144(2):419-422.  Jamestown, ND: 
     Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.  
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/birds/deerpred/index.htm  
     (Version 09MAR2001).

Table of Contents

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* U.S. Geological Survey, Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, 8711 37th Street S.E., Jamestown, North Dakota 58401. (both authors)
1 Corresponding author: e-mail: pam_pietz@usgs.gov
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