Modeling Seasonal Interactions in the Population Dynamics of Migratory Birds

American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla) Science Article 2


UNDERSTANDING THE POPULATION DYNAMICS of migratory birds requires understanding the relevant biological events that occur during breeding, migratory, and overwintering periods. The few available population models for passerine birds focus on breeding-season events, disregard or oversimplify events during nonbreeding periods, and ignore interactions that occur between periods of the annual cycle. Identifying and explicitly incorporating seasonal interactions into population models for migratory birds could provide important insights about when population limitation actually occurs in the annual cycle. We present a population model for the annual cycle of a migratory bird, based on the American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla) but more generally applicable, that examines the importance of seasonal interactions by incorporating: (1) density dependence during the breeding and winter seasons, (2) a carry-over effect of winter habitat on breeding-seasonproductivity, and (3) the effects of behavioral dominance on seasonal and habitatspecificdemographic rates. First, we show that habitat availability on both the wintering and breeding grounds can strongly affect equilibrium population size and sex ratio. Second, sex ratio dynamics, as mediated by behavioral dominance, can affect all other aspects of population dynamics. Third, carry-over effects can be strong, especially when winter events are limiting. These results suggest that understanding the population dynamics of migratory birds may require more consideration of the seasonal interactions induced by carry-over effects and density dependence in multiple seasons. This model provides a framework in which to explore more fully these seasonal dynamics and a context for estimation of life history parameters

MICHaeL C. RUNGE AND PETER P. MARRA, Birds of Two Worlds: The Ecology and Evolution of Temperate-Tropical Migration. (Ed. by R. Greenberg & P. Marra), pp. 375-389.

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