Abstract

We studied use of nest boxes by Great Tits (Parus major) in rural village gardens in a semi-arid area. Great Tits occupied 46.6% of the nest boxes, and used nest boxes within higher tree densities and with more tree species in the vicinity. Breeding success was greater in nest boxes with higher plant density, more plant species, and greater height of trees in the vicinity of the nest. The presence of children or dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) near nest boxes did not affect breeding parameters. Syrian Woodpeckers (Dendrocopos syriacus) enlarged 38.0% of nest box entrances during the first year. House Sparrows (Passer domesticus) occupied 41.0% of the nest boxes with enlarged holes and none of those with normal holes. Great Tits occupied both types, but significantly fewer pairs breeding in nest boxes with enlarged holes succeeded in fledging at least one young, probably due to their eviction by the larger House Sparrows.

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