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Digest 20 August 2002 - Vol. 3, No. 4

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1) Reply: Vertebrate (Bird) Diet of Glis? (P. Vogel)

Hi Bill,
From the Dormouse Hollow, I found your contribution. I am very interested, because except many old reports (Brehm) on the carnivory of Glis, I did not come across serious reports on killing birds. I made some experimental tests without success, leading me to believe that these stories are not serious. In captivity, wild captured Glis did not eat bird eggs. If you wish, and if you give me your post address, I can send you a reprint on this problem (Vogel P. (1997): Hibernation of recently captured Muscardinus, Eliomys and Myoxus: a comparative study. Natura Croatica 6: 217-231). In contrast to Glis, Eliomys (Lérot) is a serious predator. He prefers insects to nuts. He kicks out Parus from the nestbox in order to adopt the box with the bird nest as shelter.

In my garden, I have the same problem with birds as you, but Glis does not exist in our region. Here, most of the destruction in nests are done by stone marten (fouine). this year, I had a nest of Sylvia atricapilla (fauvette à tête noire) in front of my kitchen window. I observed he whole breeding period. The day after hatching, the nest was predated during the night, typical work of a stone marten, because a cat could not climb on the small bush. Some years ago, the young blackbirds (merles) seemed to have deserted the nest too early. The next day, I found 3 of the 4 birds in the motor of my car. This is a typical resting place for stone martens.

In my experimental forest for Glis studies, I have very rarely nest predation of Parus (mésanges), birds that are using my nestboxes placed for the dormice. In fact, Glis is using the nestboxes only after the reproduction of the birds. It is even possible that this species starts in Switzerland to be active in June only, when the breeding period of Parus is at the end.

So you understand why I would like to have real proves of nest destruction by Glis, not only conclusions from the simultaneous presence of Glis and brood destruction.

Best regards,

Prof. Dr. Peter VOGEL
Institut d'Ecologie - Zoologie et Ecologie Animale
Bâtiment de Biologie
Université de Lausanne
CH 1015 Lausanne
Tel: (021) 692 41 61
Fax: (021) 692 41 05

2) Reply: Vertebrate (Bird) Diet of Glis? (R. Juškaitis)

Dear Bill,
I regret to confirm that fat dormice (Glis glis) really eat both adult and young birds as well as bird eggs. During 1991-2002, I have registered many such cases at my Glis study site in Lithuania, in Rumsiskes forest. About 50 bird nestboxes were controlled each year twice: in spring and in autumn. Ficedula hypoleuca was the most common bird nesting in these nestboxes. During this study period, nine adult birds killed by fat dormice were found in nestboxes (8 F. hypoleuca and 1 Parus major). In five cases, dormice killed hatches of hollow nesting birds (2 F. hypoleuca, 1 P. major, 1 P. caeruleus and 1 Erithacus rubecula). Most often bird clutches were eaten by dormice (16 F. hypoleuca, 2 P. major, 1 E. rubecula).

Such cases, when fat dormice kill nestling or adult birds and eat eggs, are also described in the monograph by von Vietinghoff-Riesch (1960), in the book by Lozan (1970), in the paper by Andresen (1989) etc.

What to do? Sorry, I do not know.

Yours sincerely,
Rimvydas Juškaitis
Dr. Rimvydas Juškaitis
Institute of Ecology, Akademijos 2, LT-2600 Vilnius, Lithuania
Tel: +370-2-729278, Fax: +370-2-729257


1) About The Dormouse Hollow Forum (M. Bond)

A few facts about the Dormouse community, the community may not be aware that it is a community, it exists at different levels of expertise, and knowledge. The core group share the responsibility to perform as educators to the greater community, who in turn have the responsibility to perform as educators . This education exists in a trickle down motion, knowledge is departed in an outward manner reaching where it is needed.

In the UK the issues of animal welfare are very prominent, with the media making high profile stories out of what was before an uninteresting story. An awaited review by DEFRA of some of the rules governing the keeping exotic animals, and the promise of the wave going out to affect the rest of Europe and possibly further, underline the need for responsibility.

It is to this end that The Dormouse Hollow thinks there should be an increase in the manner and method of communication available to the areas where it is needed. The act of conversation and enjoyment can also provide as an educator, these days the internet is becoming ever more accessible to the masses.

Suggestions put forward include an inexpensive internet chat forum available as a link from The Dormouse Hollow website, this will be in part bringing to the people a moderated vehicle of communication and education, where the pace will be set by the poster. This will in turn bring new members to the Dormouse Hollow. There are a few internet communities that discuss Dormice, unfortunately these do not have the educated knowledge base that the Dormouse Hollow does.

The Dormouse Chat will run alongside this internet chat forum and be delivered in the usual manner taking relevant excerpts from the chat community as they develop and if they develop. This will also act vice versa and take the choice cuts from Dormouse Talk to the chat community for discussion.

The internet community forum will be developed on an as needed basis, the Dormouse community is many faceted, the facilities available are wide and diverse, offering a secure private forum to an open light hearted public place of interest and discussion. With the excellent knowledge base that is The Dormouse Hollow it is hoped that this suggestion will be accepted and these ideas put into practice, bringing to the public a recognised and trusted community of educators about the many facets of The Dormouse and its interactions with people all over the planet. It is our belief that the Dormouse Hollow is well respected and trusted to fulfil this role.

The internet forum will be presented in an interesting visual experience as well as a positive educator, gathering in-put from posters to gain its own momentum.

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