This chapter considers all aspects of the study of the breeding biology of wild birds, and how to gain representative measures of nest success and other aspects. It discusses the selection of study areas, measuring the success of individual breeding attempts, and determining the proximate causes of breeding failure from signs left at the nest, using wax or plasticine eggs, cameras, and temperature loggers. It also discusses the use of artificial nests to measure nest success and causes of failure, and methods of measuring overall annual productivity from detailed field studies, or from counts or captures after the breeding season, or from the use of simulation models. Final sections deal with assessments of the timing of breeding, measurements of eggs and chicks, and the use of experiments to disentangle the ultimate and proximate causes of breeding failure.
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