Impacts of nest predators and weather on reproductive success in American redstarts
Submitted by Johan on 11 December 2015.
Photo by Dennis Jarvis published under CC BY SA 2.0 at Wikimedia Commons: Setophaga_ruticilla_-Chiquimula,_Guatemala_-male-8.jpg
Understanding the population ecology of different phases in the complex annual cycle of long-distance migratory birds, and determining the importance of winter vs summer vs migration impacts, and their carry-over effects, on population dynamics, represents a major long-standing research challenge in animal ecology.
This fascinating experimental and analytical study of the American redstart, demonstrates that annual variation in nest success is caused mainly by predation (and by climate presumably affecting the predators) and explains much of the annual fluctuations in breeding population, thus stressing the importance of breeding season limitation for the population dynamics. This represents one significant step towards a more complete view of the impact of different limiting factors in different geographic regions and in different phases of the annual cycle, which is discussed in a very stimulating and illuminating way in the paper.
Thomas Alerstam, Editor in Chief
This paper is published under a CC-BY license and is free to read: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jav.00536/full