Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service
  
Treesearch

Research & Development Treesearch

 
Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Northern
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help
 

Science.gov - We Participate


USA.gov  Government Made Easy


Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.
20090-6090

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

View PDF (296 KB)

Title: An 'ecological trap' for yellow warbler nest microhabitat selection

Author: Latif, Quresh S.; Heath, Sacha K.; Rotenberry, John T.;

Date: 2011

Source: Oikos

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Contrary to assumptions of habitat selection theory, fi eld studies frequently detect ‘ ecological traps ’ , where animals prefer habitats conferring lower fi tness than available alternatives. Evidence for traps includes cases where birds prefer breeding habitats associated with relatively high nest predation rates despite the importance of nest survival to avian fi tness. Because birds select breeding habitat at multiple spatial scales, the processes underlying traps for birds are likely scale-dependent. We studied a potential ecological trap for a population of yellow warblers Dendroica petechia while paying specific attention to spatial scale. We quantifi ed nest microhabitat preference by comparing nest- versus random-site microhabitat structure and related preferred microhabitat features with nest survival. Over a nine-year study period and three study sites, we found a consistently negative relationship between preferred microhabitat patches and nest survival rates. Data from experimental nests described a similar relationship, corroborating the apparent positive relationship between preferred microhabitat and nest predation. As do other songbirds, yellow warblers select breeding habitat in at least two steps at two spatial scales; (1) they select territories at a coarser spatial scale and (2) nest microhabitats at a fi ner scale from within individual territories. By comparing nest versus random sites within territories, we showed that maladaptive nest microhabitat preferences arose during within-territory nest site selection (step 2). Furthermore, nest predation rates varied at a fi ne enough scale to provide individual yellow warblers with lower-predation alternatives to preferred microhabitats. Given these results, tradeoffs between nest survival and other fi tness components are unlikely since fi tness components other than nest survival are probably more relevant to territory-scale habitat selection. Instead, exchanges of individuals among populations facing diff erent predation regimes, the recent proliferation of the parasitic brown-headed cowbird Molothrus ater , and/or anthropogenic changes to riparian vegetation structure are more likely explanations.

Keywords: yellow warblers, Dendroica petechia, nest selection

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

XML: View XML

Citation:


Latif, Quresh S.; Heath, Sacha K.; Rotenberry, John T. 2011. An 'ecological trap' for yellow warbler nest microhabitat selection. Oikos 120: 1139-1150.

 


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.