Environmental conditions but not nest composition affect reproductive success in an urban bird

Capilla-Lasheras, P. , Bondía, B. and Aguirre, J. I. (2021) Environmental conditions but not nest composition affect reproductive success in an urban bird. Ecology and Evolution, 11(7), pp. 3084-3092. (doi: 10.1002/ece3.7234) (PMID:33841769) (PMCID:PMC8019055)

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Adjusting the composition of their nests, breeding birds can influence the environmental conditions that eggs and offspring experience. Birds often use feathers to build nests, presumably due to their insulating properties. The amount of feathers in nests is often associated with increased nestling survival and body condition. However, it is unclear whether these putative beneficial effects of adding feathers to nests are relevant in a wide range of environmental conditions. Here, we combine data on weather conditions and feathers in nests (i.e., nest composition) to investigate their relative contribution to reproductive success in the Eurasian tree sparrow (Passer montanus). Specifically, we investigate whether the effect of weather conditions on breeding success is modulated by the amount of feathers added to the nest. We found a strong negative effect of rainfall on the number of nestlings that successfully fledged per breeding attempt, but this negative effect was not mitigated by the amount of feathers in nests. We also found that the amount of feathers in nests varied along the breeding season, with nests containing more feathers early in the breeding season, when temperatures were lower. Despite considerable variation in nest composition, our results do not suggest an important role of feathers in nests protecting eggs or nestling tree sparrows against fluctuations in environmental conditions.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Capilla Lasheras, Dr Pablo
Creator Roles:
Capilla-Lasheras, P.Conceptualization, Data curation, Formal analysis, Funding acquisition, Investigation, Methodology, Project administration, Visualization, Writing – original draft, Writing – review and editing
Authors: Capilla-Lasheras, P., Bondía, B., and Aguirre, J. I.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Ecology and Evolution
ISSN (Online):2045-7758
Published Online:12 March 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Authors
First Published:First published in Ecology and Evolution 11(7): 3084-3092
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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