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Factors affecting the nesting success of Swainson’s thrush (Catharus ustulatus) along an elevational gradient
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  • Sarah Deckel,
  • William DeLuca,
  • Alexander Gerson,
  • David King
Sarah Deckel
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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William DeLuca
National Audubon Society
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Alexander Gerson
University of Massachusetts Amherst
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David King
University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Montane birds experience a range of challenges that may limit their breeding success, including nest predation and severe climactic conditions. The continuing effects of climate change are causing shifts in biotic and abiotic factors that may compound these threats to montane bird species. In northeastern montane forests, many bird species are shifting downslope, potentially as the result of increased precipitation and temperature at higher elevations. Although lower elevations might be more favorable in terms of climactic conditions, nest predation is higher at lower elevations. Thus, montane birds might be faced with the opposing pressures of adverse climactic conditions at higher elevations and increased predation at lower elevations. We monitored nests of Swainson’s thrush (Catharus ustulatus) along an elevation gradient in the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire in 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2021 to examine the effect of biotic and abiotic factors on nest survival. We found a significant negative effect of rain intensity (millimeters per hour per day) on daily nest survival, suggesting that heavier rain per hour decreases Swainson’s thrush daily daily nest survival. Moreover, we found a negative interaction effect of elevation in conjunction with minimum daily temperature and average daily temperature, suggesting that at higher elevations, temperature, specifically on colder days, decreases Swainson’s thrush nest survival. Our results provide evidence for a potential mechanism of how climate change will affect nesting survival of montane breeding birds as heavier precipitation events become more frequent and intense, a likely outcome due to the changing climate within the White Mountains and other montane ecosystems, putting other passerine species at risk in this system.
24 Feb 2023Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
25 Feb 2023Submission Checks Completed
25 Feb 2023Assigned to Editor
01 Mar 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned
30 Mar 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
05 Apr 2023Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
27 Jun 20231st Revision Received
28 Jun 2023Submission Checks Completed
28 Jun 2023Assigned to Editor
28 Jun 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
28 Jun 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned
20 Jul 2023Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
12 Sep 20232nd Revision Received
13 Sep 2023Assigned to Editor
13 Sep 2023Submission Checks Completed
13 Sep 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
14 Sep 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned
03 Nov 2023Editorial Decision: Accept