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Local recruitment in Northern Flickers is related to environmental factors at multiple scales and provides reproductive benefits to yearling breeders settling close to home

Citation

Wiebe, Karen (2020), Local recruitment in Northern Flickers is related to environmental factors at multiple scales and provides reproductive benefits to yearling breeders settling close to home, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.bk3j9kd71

Abstract

Natal dispersal and local recruitment are affected by factors both intrinsic and extrinsic to juveniles and may affect fitness. Understanding the relationship between dispersal and population density in birds has been hindered by a lack of long-term studies and a focus on resident species has neglected the role of weather operating at large spatial scales. I studied local recruitment and the reproductive consequences of natal dispersal distance within a population of Northern Flickers (Colaptes auratus), a migratory woodpecker. During a field study spanning 16 years in British Columbia, 8272 fledglings were banded and 138 males and 105 females recruited locally. Average annual local recruitment rate for males (3.36%) was greater than for females (2.55%) and propensity to recruit locally was positively correlated with an early hatch date and high body condition. Annual local recruitment was not associated with population density in the year of hatch but was positively correlated with population density in the year of settlement. Local recruitment was also positively correlated with warmer springs during migration consistent with the phenology hypothesis. Among local recruits, natal dispersal distance was independent of the presence of parents and so dispersal was not a behavior to prevent inbreeding. However, settling closer to the natal site led to reproductive benefits in terms of earlier laying dates and better nest success. Therefore, juveniles may gain useful information about the location of nesting substrates, predation risk, and patchy food resources by exploring the landscape around their natal site during the post-fledging period and then settling in the familiar area after returning from migration.

Funding

Natural Sciences and Engineering Discovery, Award: 20317