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1 August 2010 Geographic Variation in Nests of Yellow Warblers Breeding in Churchill, Manitoba, and Elgin, Ontario
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Nesting structures are important for successful reproduction in most birds, and, because of this, geographic variation in nest morphology and composition are usually interpreted as adaptations to breeding in different environments. We compared the structure of nests of Yellow Warblers (Dendroica petechia) breeding in Churchill, Manitoba, and Elgin, Ontario, Canada. Churchill is subarctic in habitat and typically much colder during the breeding season than Elgin. We compared temperature, rainfall, and wind speed at these two sites and then tested whether differences in nest structure corresponded to different environments. Yellow Warblers breeding in Churchill built larger, less porous nests that retained heat better but also absorbed more water and took longer to dry than Yellow Warbler nests from Elgin. We suggest that differences in the structure of Yellow Warbler nests represent adaptations to breeding in different environments because the differences in nest morphology and properties of heat retention and water loss correspond to differences between the sites in environmental challenges.

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Vanya G. Rohwer and James S. Y. Law "Geographic Variation in Nests of Yellow Warblers Breeding in Churchill, Manitoba, and Elgin, Ontario," The Condor 112(3), (1 August 2010).
Received: 23 November 2009; Accepted: 1 March 2010; Published: 1 August 2010

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