Master's Theses

Department

Biology

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Abstract

The nesting ecology of solitary and colonial nesting Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica) was compared during the 1976 nesting season to determine whether colonialism was advantageous in terms of nesting success. Concrete box culverts were the major study sites as these lent a degree of homogeneity to the physical and environmental factors, thus enhancing comparison of nesting success. Observations indicate that the opening dimensions (based largely on height) of a nesting site are important, as an optimum area is found associated with colonial sites. Statistical analysis indicated length of the site and water within the site to be of importance in differentiating between a colonial and a solitary site. First clutch hatching and fledging success indicated colonial nesting was disadvantageous in terms of reproductive output. This was attributed to the increased Barn Swallow activity in colonies attracting a greater amount of predation. Second clutch statistics did not indicate colonial nesting to be either advantageous or disadvantageous. This study suggests that the sociability of the Barn Swallow was a major factor in colony formation.

Advisor

Charles A. Ely

Date of Award

Spring 1977

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access

Rights

© 1977 Renee R. Lohoefener

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