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1 September 2017 Evidence For Individual Consistency and Location Effects On Nest Morphology In A Population of Yellow Warblers (Setophaga petechia)
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Abstract

The behaviors of animals can be highly variable across individuals and environments; however, recent studies have demonstrated that the behaviors of individuals in response to similar environmental stimuli are often highly consistent over time. We investigated consistency in nest building behaviors during a single breeding season in a population of Yellow Warblers (Setophaga petechia) in southeastern Ontario, Canada. We examined the first and second nests constructed by eight individually-marked females that were distributed among three breeding locations 1–3 km apart, to test whether individual female and location affected the similarity of nests using three methods. First, we compared morphological measures of nests among females and locations and found that nests built by the same female were more similar in their nest depth compared with nests built by different females. Second, we used human observers to rank nest similarity based on overall nest appearance (considering morphology and composition) and found that (1) nests built by the same female were more similar compared with nests built by different females, and (2) nests built by different females in the same location were more similar than nests built by different females in different locations. Third, we deconstructed all nests and compared nest composition among females and locations and found that nests built by the same female were composed of similar materials compared with nests built by different females. Our results suggest that individual females build nests consistently during a single breeding season, and that females breeding in close proximity build nests that are more similar in appearance compared with nests built by females nesting 1–3 km apart.

Allison M. K. Patrick, Vanya G. Rohwer, and Paul R. Martin "Evidence For Individual Consistency and Location Effects On Nest Morphology In A Population of Yellow Warblers (Setophaga petechia)," The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 129(3), 469-480, (1 September 2017). https://doi.org/10.1676/16-081.1
Received: 27 May 2016; Accepted: 1 October 2016; Published: 1 September 2017
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