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... The conservation status of M. avellanarius in the European Union (FFH directive 92 / 43 / EEC, appendix IV) deteriorated from favourable (report period 2007-2012) to unfavourable-inadequate (report period 2013-2018). In addition, population declines are reported from England (Goodwin et al. 2018), Denmark (Vilhelmsen 2003), Sweden (Berglund & Persson 2012), and Belgium (Verbeylen 2009, Verbeylen et al. 2017. Together with possible negative effects of global climate change (Goodwin et al. 2018), these circumstances require better knowledge of the species' biology and habitat use. ...
... In common with similar studies, we observed that use of nest tubes or boxes increased with their number and population density usually decreased after removal of artificial nesting opportunities (Juškaitis & Büchner 2010). Chanin & Gubert (2011) and Verbeylen et al. (2017) reported differences in use of nest boxes compared to tubes, impeding comparison of data acquired with different methods. M. avellanarius abandons nest boxes earlier in the year in the northern compared to the southern part of their range (Juškaitis et al. 2015). ...
... Long-term monitoring (1980-1996 of nest boxes in autumn in different forest sites in Germany (Baden-Württemberg) revealed occupancy rates of 0-7 %, increasing to 15 % in some patches (Gatter & Schütt 1999). In Belgium, in 2014-2016 M. avellanarius used annually 39 to 48 % of the available nest tubes (32 to 34 % when also nest boxes were included) in a railway verge with dense edge vegetation, with annually 54 to 82 % of the adults and 35 to 53 % of the known subadults being encountered in the nest boxes or nest tubes during fortnightly checks (Verbeylen et al. 2017). In the present study, inter-annual variation in nest-tube occupancy (−27 and +33 percentage points) also was higher than in these studies. ...
Article
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Studies of Muscardinus avellanarius (Linnaeus, 1785) predominantly originate from the edges of its European range and therefore are not easily extrapolated to alpine habitats. Thus, we surveyed a population in the Triebener Moos (Styria/Austria) from 2012 to 2018 using 100 dormouse nest-tubes at 4 study plots. In total, 113 dormice were captured and measured. Overall sex-ratio among adults was even and body mass increased from May to September. Our results show highest population densities in August and in September varying annually between 1.73 and 3.98 individuals per hectare. Annual percentage of nest tubes used by M. avellanarius averaged 31%, with a high inter-annual variation in nest-tube occupancy. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) showed that the number of occupied nest tubes decreased with declining diversity of food plants and increasing tree cover.
... Despite the limited amount of information on materials used for the construction of hibernation nests, previous studies have suggested that dormice use similar materials for the construction of both summer and hibernation nests (Juškaitis, 2014;Morris, 2004;Vogel & Frey, 1995;Walhovd & Jensen, 1976). Verbeylen et al. (2017) is one of the few studies that details hibernation nest material usage based on 19 nests constructed mainly of stripped bark, stems and leaves of several species including clematis (Clematis vitalba), grasses, herb stems, ferns, honeysuckle, bark and leaves of several trees including hazel, ash (Fraxinus excelsior), sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) and oak (Quercus robur/Q. petraea), whilst Vogel and Frey (1995) reported wide use of beech leaves and occasionally grass blades in 10 hibernation nests. ...
... Overall, a wide range of materials are used in nest construction, probably related to their availability within the home range; however, the hazel dormouse used a relatively low number of materials to construct hibernation nests, ranging from 1 to 5 (x = 2.22) similar to results presented elsewhere in hibernation nests (x = 2.52 by Verbeylen et al., 2017) and summer nests (x = 3.54 by Bracewell & Downs, 2017). There was plasticity in how the materials were used, with some being used on their own or in conjunction with others, and there was positive relationship between proportion of materials available in the immediate surroundings and their use in the nest. ...
... Most of the materials used in hibernation nests were collected within one metre of the nest. Verbeylen et al. (2017) found similar results in Belgium, although some were collected up to 15 metres away. Bracewell and Downs (2017) found that dormice can cover long distances to collect summer nest materials (up to 50 m), whereas materials for the hibernation nests studied here were available very locally, all within 3m and typically within 50cm of the nest. ...
Article
Trade‐offs between specialist use of particular resources and opportunistic use of widespread materials may present different strategies for survival. Hazel dormice Muscardinus avellanarius are arboreal mammals that in Great Britain hibernate from late autumn to mid spring in nests that are specially built at ground level. Hibernation nests are rarely encountered, and little is known about the types of construction or materials used. Specifically, it is not known whether nest materials are selected opportunistically, based on their availability, or are specialised to suit local environmental conditions. We therefore conducted a study to characterise the main materials used to construct these nests, explore the distances travelled to collect materials and investigate whether regional climate and/or local microclimate have an impact on the types of nests built. Thirty‐three hibernation nests were located through radio‐tracking, systematic searches and incidental finds. Structurally, hibernation nests were built similarly to summer nests and were most commonly constructed with an outer layer of leaves and distinct core section made of woven material. We found no correlation between nest type and the temperature recorded at nest sites. Nests were built using a mean of two materials per nest, which were both in every case available within 3m of the nest. The most frequently used materials were bracken, hazel and beech leaves, and grasses. Dormice were flexible in their use of nest materials, using various materials harvested very locally. However, dormice travelled further to collect grasses, ferns, bracken and honeysuckle, and these materials made up most of the nests in which they were found. There were also positive correlations between material abundance and usage, and suitable materials for hibernation nest construction were therefore readily available within their home range. This study was carried out to characterise the main materials used to construct dormouse hibernation nests, explore the distances travelled to collect materials and investigate whether regional climate and/or local microclimate have an impact on the types of nests built. We found that dormice were flexible in their use of nest materials, using various materials harvested very locally. There were positive correlations between material abundance and usage, and suitable materials for hibernation nest construction were therefore readily available within their home range.
... In previous studies, in which the effectiveness of these two devices has been compared, the results have been contradictory (Bullion et al. 2018;Chanin and Gubert 2011;Lang et al. 2018;Melcore et al. 2020;Verbeylen et al. 2017). Although it is well known that occupation of nest boxes by hazel dormice can be negatively affected by other species due to competition or predation (overview in Juškaitis 2014; Juškaitis and Büchner 2013), to date there has not been any systematic investigation of whether spatial competition has an impact on the occupancy ratio of either nest boxes or nest tubes by hazel dormice. ...
... Previous results of studies comparing the use of nest boxes and nest tubes by hazel dormice are contradictory. Hazel dormice either used nest boxes more frequently than nest tubes (Chanin and Gubert 2011), used them equally (Bullion et al. 2018) or used nest tubes slightly more than nest boxes (Melcore et al. 2020;Verbeylen et al. 2017). In our previous work using data only from the first year, hazel dormice clearly chose nest tubes over nest boxes (Lang et al. 2018) and we suspected that this preference could have been an effect of competition with Apodemus species. ...
Article
Nest boxes and nest tubes are widely used to survey and monitor hazel dormice (Muscardinus avellanarius). A two-year study was conducted in order to compare the performance of the two devices. In one year hazel dormice clearly preferred nest tubes over nest boxes but preferred nest boxes over nest tubes in the other year. The preference for one or other device was mainly influenced by competition for nest boxes with Apodemus mice, which preferred nest boxes over nest tubes during one year when they were abundant. This has to be considered when comparing performance of methods.
... A plausible reason for this is the shortage of natural refuges due to forestry practices. To the best of our knowledge, there are only a few studies that considered natural roost preferences in addition to artificial shelters, conducted on two European species of dormice -the hazel dormouse Morris, 1991, 1992;Verbeylen et al., 2007;Goodwin et al., 2018) and forest dormouse (Pilāts et al., 2012). Almost nothing is known about other European dormouse species. ...
... Omdat de Voerense hazelmuispopulatie grensoverschrijdend één geheel vormt met de Nederlandse hazelmuispopulatie, startte de Zoogdierenwerkgroep van Natuurpunt in 2007 met een monitoring volgens de Nederlandse methodiek van het nesten zoeken(Verbeylen 2008). Een bijkomend argument om deze methodiek te gebruiken, was aanvankelijk dat daardoor vermeden werd dat allerlei materiaal (nestkasten, nestbuizen) moest opgehangen worden in gebieden waar men het systeem zo natuurlijk mogelijk tracht te houden, i.c. de Voerense bosreservaten.Omdat voor geen enkele monitoringmethode eerder reeds onderzocht werd hoe de resultaten ervan correleren met de werkelijke grootte van de aanwezige hazelmuispopulatie, voerde de Zoogdierenwerkgroep in 2014-2017 in twee van de gebieden ook een intensief populatieonderzoek uitVerbeylen et al. 2016;Verbeylen et al. 2017). Hierbij werden zowel nestkasten als nestbuizen gecontroleerd, vrije nesten in de randvegetatie geteld en live-trapping uitgevoerd. ...
Technical Report
This report describes the monitoring networks for the mammals European hamster (Cricetus cricetus), Common dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius), European badger (Meles meles) and European otter (Lutra lutra). The aim of the monitoring is to obtain a population trend estimate on a Flemish scale. Common dormouse is counted annually along transects and from now on by nest box control. European hamster is monitored on a site level where burrows are counted on recently harvested grain fields. The number of occupied European badger setts is monitored in a 3-year cycle in known badger area, while the peripheral terrain is explored for badger presence. For European otter, a preliminary survey of potentially suitable sites is needed as a base for a possible future monitoring network. For both badger and otter recording opportunistic data in new areas is very important.
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