The addition of nest predation as a major process to current theories of space utilization and coexistence of open-nesting bird species adds predictive power to hypotheses of resource partitioning and organization of species assemblages. Nest predation can influence the organization of assemblages if predators respond to nests in a density-dependent manner and if predators specialize on nest types. Evidence shows that nest predation is commonly density-dependent and that predators can specialize on nest types. Consequently, nest predation can select for coexistence of bird species that nest at different heights and in different microhabitats (i.e. partitioning of nesting space) to minimize density-dependent responses of predators to the accumulating densities of species within similar nest sites. I establish a series of predicted patterns (1) to test whether predation is operating to influence partitioning of space and coexistence of species, (2) to distinguish effects of nest predation from competition, and (3) to determine the mechanism by which nest predation acts to organize assemblages. Using published and unpublished data to test the predictions, nest predation is seen as a process that we can no longer afford to ignore.
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