Variation in the Structure of Bird Nests between Northern Manitoba and Southeastern Ontario
by Carla A. Crossman, Vanya G. Rohwer, Paul R. Martin
Traits that converge in appearance under similar environmental conditions among phylogenetically independent lineages are thought to represent adaptations to local environments. We tested for convergence in nest morphology and composition of birds breeding in two ecologically different locations in Canada: Churchill in northern Manitoba and Elgin in southeastern Ontario. We examined nests from four families of passerine birds (Turdidae: Turdus, Parulidae: Dendroica, Emberizidae: Passerculus and Fringillidae: Carduelis) where closely related populations or species breed in both locations. Nests of American Robins, Yellow Warblers, and Carduelis finches had heavier nest masses, and tended to have thicker nest-walls, in northern Manitoba compared with conspecifics or congenerics breeding in southeastern Ontario. Together, all species showed evidence for wider internal and external nest-cup diameters in northern Manitoba, while individual species showed varying patterns for internal nest-cup and external nest depths. American Robins, Yellow Warblers, and Carduelis finches in northern Manitoba achieved heavier nest masses in different ways. American Robins increased all materials in similar proportions, and Yellow Warblers and Common Redpolls used greater amounts of select materials. While changes in nest composition vary uniquely for each species, the pattern of larger nests in northern Manitoba compared to southeastern Ontario in three of our four phylogenetically-independent comparisons suggests that birds are adapting to similar selective pressures between locations.
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Syndicated from:PLoS ONE
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