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Data from: Carry-over effects of winter habitat quality on en route timing and condition of a migratory passerine during spring migration

Citation

Paxton, Kristina L.; Moore, Frank R. (2015), Data from: Carry-over effects of winter habitat quality on en route timing and condition of a migratory passerine during spring migration, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.bq64c

Abstract

We examined how conditions prior to migration influenced migration performance of two breeding populations of black-and-white warblers (Mniotilta varia) by linking information on the migrant's winter habitat quality, measured via stable carbon isotopes, with information on their breeding destination, measured via stable hydrogen isotopes. The quality of winter habitat strongly influenced the timing of migration when we accounted for differential timing of migration between breeding populations. Among birds migrating to the same breeding destination, males and females arriving early to the stopover site originated from more mesic habitat than later arriving birds, suggesting that the benefits of occupying high-quality mesic habitat during the winter positively influence the timing of migration. However, male warblers arriving early to the stopover site were not in better migratory condition than later arriving conspecifics that originated from poor-quality xeric winter habitat, regardless of breeding destination. The two breeding populations stopover at the study site during different time periods, suggesting that the lower migratory condition of early birds is not a function of the time of season, but potentially a migrant's migration strategy. Strong selection pressures to arrive early on the breeding grounds to secure high-quality breeding territories may drive males from high-quality winter habitat to minimize time at the expense of energy. This migration strategy would result in a smaller margin of safety to buffer the effects of adverse weather or scarcity of food, increasing the risk of mortality. The migratory condition of females was the same regardless of the timing of migration or breeding destination, suggesting that females adopt a strategy that conserves energy during migration. This study fills an important gap in our understanding of the linkages between winter habitat quality and factors that influence the performance of migration, the phase of the annual cycle thought to be limiting most migratory bird populations.

Usage Notes

Location

Central America
northern Gulf of Mexico
Caribbean