Publication Details

Title: Seasonal survival estimation for a long-distance migratory bird and the influence of winter precipitation

Author(s): Sarah M. Rockwell; Joseph M. Wunderle; [External Site: Opens in New Window] T. Scott Sillett; Carol I. Bocetti; David N. Ewert; Dave Currie; Jennifer D. White; Peter P. Marra.

Year: 2017

Source: Oecologia. 183(3): 715-726.

Abstract: Conservation of migratory animals requires information about seasonal survival rates. Identifying factors that limit populations, and the portions of the annual cycle in which they occur, are critical for recognizing and reducing potential threats. However, such data are lacking for virtually all migratory taxa. We investigated patterns and environmental correlates of annual, oversummer, overwinter, and migratory survival for adult male Kirtland's warblers (Setophaga kirtlandii), an endangered, long-distance migratory songbird. We used Cormack-Jolly-Seber models to analyze two mark-recapture datasets: 2006-2011 on Michigan breeding grounds, and 2003-2010 on Bahamian wintering grounds. The mean annual survival probability was 0.58 +/- 0.12 SE. Monthly survival probabilities during the summer and winter stationary periods were relatively high (0.963 +/- 0.005 SE and 0.977 +/- 0.002 SE, respectively). Monthly survival probability during migratory periods was substantially lower (0.879 +/- 0.05 SE), accounting for ~44% of all annual mortality. March rainfall in the Bahamas was the best-supported predictor of annual survival probability and was positively correlated with apparent annual survival in the subsequent year, suggesting that the effects of winter precipitation carried over to influence survival probability of individuals in later seasons. Projection modeling revealed that a decrease in Bahamas March rainfall >12.4% from its current mean could result in negative population growth in this species. Collectively, our results suggest that increased drought during the non-breeding season, which is predicted to occur under multiple climate change scenarios, could have important consequences on the annual survival and population growth rate of Kirtland's warbler and other Neotropical-Nearctic migratory bird species.

Citation: Rockwell, Sarah M.; Wunderle, Joseph M.; Sillett, T. Scott; Bocetti, Carol I.; Ewert, David N.; Currie, Dave; White, Jennifer D.; Marra, Peter P. 2017.Seasonal survival estimation for a long-distance migratory bird and the influence of winter precipitation. Oecologia. 183(3): 715-726.

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