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Data from: Urbanization and the temporal patterns of social networks and group foraging behaviours

Cite this dataset

Jones, Teri B.; Evans, Julian C.; Morand-Ferron, Julie (2020). Data from: Urbanization and the temporal patterns of social networks and group foraging behaviours [Dataset]. Dryad.


Urbanization causes dramatic and rapid changes to natural environments, which can lead the animals inhabiting these habitats to adjust their behavioral responses. For social animals, urbanized environments may alter group social dynamics through modification of the external environment (e.g., resource distribution). This might lead to changes in how individuals associate or engage in group behaviors, which could alter the stability and characteristics of social groups. However, the potential impacts of urban habitat use, and of habitat characteristics in general, on the nature and stability of social associations remain poorly understood. Here, we quantify social networks and dynamics of group foraging behaviors of black‐capped chickadees (N = 82, Poecile atricapillus), at four urban and four rural sites weekly throughout the nonbreeding season using feeders with radio frequency identification of individual birds. Because anthropogenic food sources in urban habitats (e.g., bird feeders) provide abundant and reliable resources, we predicted that social foraging associations may be of less value in urban groups, and thus would be less consistent than in rural groups. Additionally, decreased variability of food resources in urban habitats could lead to more predictable foraging patterns (group size, foraging duration, and the distribution of foraging events) in contrast to rural habitats. Networks were found to be highly consistent through time in both urban and rural habitats. No significant difference was found in the temporal clumping of foraging events between habitats. However, as predicted, the repeatability of the clumping of foraging events in time was significantly higher in urban than rural habitats. Our results suggest that individuals living in urban areas have more consistent foraging behaviors throughout the nonbreeding season, whereas rural individuals adjust their tactics due to less predictable foraging conditions. This first examination of habitat‐related differences in the characteristics and consistency of social networks along an urbanization gradient suggests that anthropic habitat use results in subtle modifications in social foraging patterns. Future studies should examine potential implications of these differences for variation in predation risk, energy intake, and information flow.

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