Tracking seasonal movements of songbirds is a key step in understanding the annual cycle of migrants. To better understand autumn migration of wood warblers, I analyzed stable-hydrogen isotope ratios of feathers collected from three species captured during stopover at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico. To assess the form and strength of the relationship between timing of migration and breeding origins, I regressed stable-hydrogen isotope ratios of feathers against date of capture. These analyses indicated that Orange-crowned Warblers (Vermivora celata) and Common Yellowthroats (Geothlypis trichas) breeding in the southern portion of these species' ranges precede their northern conspecifics in autumn migration. By contrast, Yellow Warblers (Dendroica petechia) from northern breeding sites arrived before more southerly breeding conspecifics. This pattern is similar to that reported previously in Wilson's Warbler (Wilsonia pusilla). These findings suggest that, among wood warblers, (1) timing of autumn migration is often strongly related to breeding location and (2) interspecific variation in the direction of this relationship is large. The direction and strength of these patterns have implications for our understanding of inter- and intraspecific geographic variation in the life histories of migrants.
Evidencia de Isótopos Estables Conecta la Geografía de Nidificación con el Momento de la Migración en Especies de Parulidae