Trait-mediated trophic cascade creates enemy-free space for nesting hummingbirds

Harold F. Greeney, M. Rocio Meneses, Chris E. Hamilton, Eli Lichter-Marck, R. William Mannan, Noel Snyder, Helen Snyder, Susan M. Wethington, Lee A. Dyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The indirect effects of predators on nonadjacent trophic levels, mediated through traits of intervening species, are collectively known as trait-mediated trophic cascades. Although birds are important predators in terrestrial ecosystems, clear examples of trait-mediated indirect effects involving bird predators have almost never been documented. Such indirect effects are important for structuring ecological communities and are likely to be negatively impacted by habitat fragmentation, climate change, and other factors that reduce abundance of top predators. We demonstrate that hummingbirds in Arizona realize increased breeding success when nesting in association with hawks. An enemy-free nesting space is created when jays, an important source of mortality for hummingbird nests, alter their foraging behavior in the presence of their hawk predators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1500310
JournalScience Advances
Issue number8
StatePublished - Sep 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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