Impacts of a Global Climate Cycle on Population Dynamics of a Migratory Songbird

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Science  16 Jun 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5473, pp. 2040-2042
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5473.2040

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Progress toward understanding factors that limit abundances of migratory birds, including climate change, has been difficult because these species move between diverse locations, often on different continents. For black-throated blue warblers (Dendroica caerulescens), demographic rates in both tropical winter quarters and north temperate breeding grounds varied with fluctuations in the El Niño Southern Oscillation. Adult survival and fecundity were lower in El Niño years and higher in La Niña years. Fecundity, in turn, was positively correlated with subsequent recruitment of new individuals into winter and breeding populations. These findings demonstrate that migratory birds can be affected by shifts in global climate patterns and emphasize the need to know how events throughout the annual cycle interact to determine population size.

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