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01.01.2015 | Original article | Ausgabe 1/2015

Population Ecology 1/2015

Population response to environmental productivity throughout the annual cycle in a migratory songbird

Zeitschrift:
Population Ecology > Ausgabe 1/2015
Autoren:
Andrew G. Pillar, Scott Wilson, Nancy J. Flood, Matthew W. Reudink

Abstract

Environmental factors affect migratory animal populations in every phase of their annual cycle and have significant impacts on breeding success and survival. The Breeding Bird Survey provides a long-term database for examining population trends in North American birds, allowing us to examine large-scale environmental factors that influence population abundance. We examined plant productivity as measured by normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) over a 24-year period from 1983–2006 in bird conservation regions (BCRs) that overlapped Bullock’s oriole (Icterus bullockii) breeding, moult, and wintering ranges to ask whether plant productivity in 1 year influences population abundance in the subsequent breeding season. Bullock’s orioles have a moult-migration strategy, with a stopover moult in the Mexican monsoon region, which necessitates examining each stationary phase of the bird’s annual cycle to understand the impacts of environmental factors on population abundance. Our results show increased breeding abundance in three (Great Basin, Coastal California and Shortgrass Prairies) of the six BCRs in which the species breeds following years with high NDVI values. We did not detect a response of breeding abundance to high NDVI values in the previous year in either the moulting region or in their primary over-wintering area in central Mexico. Our results demonstrate that large-scale annual variation in primary productivity on the breeding grounds can have an impact on breeding abundance in the following season, but further studies on migratory connectivity and on ecological mechanisms during the non-breeding seasons are needed to understand why we did not detect an influence of productivity during these periods.

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