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22 March 2022 Landscape acidification has trophic-mediated effects on Ovenbirds (Seiurus aurocapilla)
Matthew R. Pintar, Brian J. Olsen
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Abstract

Acid deposition from fossil fuel combustion caused calcium depletion in eastern North America during the 20th century, and calcium is a critical resource for birds during both the egg laying and nesting periods. The effects of acid deposition on animals have largely acted through trophic relationships, with reduced calcium availability in prey possibly being a limiting factor for forest songbirds. Following 21 years of experimental whole-watershed acidification at the Bear Brook Watershed in Maine, we investigated Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla) territory size and potential prey (leaf litter arthropod) abundance, assemblage, and calcium concentration during one breeding season. We delineated and estimated the area of 8 Ovenbird territories in an acidified and a control watershed, but found that territory size did not differ between watersheds. However, while calcium concentrations of potential prey also did not differ between watersheds, territory size decreased as calcium concentrations of potential prey increased, regardless of watershed. Our results suggest that calcium limitation can be a determinant of territory size in some landscapes, and this provides further support to importance of the role of calcium in the lives of passerines.

Matthew R. Pintar and Brian J. Olsen "Landscape acidification has trophic-mediated effects on Ovenbirds (Seiurus aurocapilla)," The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 133(3), 490-495, (22 March 2022). https://doi.org/10.1676/20-0076
Received: 17 June 2020; Accepted: 1 October 2021; Published: 22 March 2022
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KEYWORDS
acid deposition
breeding ecology
calcium
Nutrient limitation
trophic interactions
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