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Behavioral Ecology


The presence of conspecifics is an indicator of good habitat for a number of songbird species; a cue positively associated with territory selection. Thus, conspecific playback may be a cost-effective tool for attracting songbirds to particular, preselected sites of high-quality habitat. Previous studies have used conspecific playback to encourage the establishment of a single species; however, few have researched the potential for the simultaneous attraction of multiple species. Furthermore, empirical studies on the effect of song playback for nonfocal species are sparse. We investigated whether 6 migratory songbird species are more likely to establish nesting territories in response to multispecies playback. To evaluate the effect on the greater songbird community, we assessed the responses of 22 nonfocal species. Three of 6 focal species increased their use of areas near playback speakers, and none became less common. However, several nonfocal species were less likely to use playback sites. Phylogenetic comparison revealed that species closely related to playback species were those most likely to be affected. Our results suggest that conspecific attraction can be used to attract multiple songbird species simultaneously, but that its impact on nonfocal species should be considered before implementation.

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