Rainfall-induced changes in food availability modify the spring departure programme of a migratory bird
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Type of Work7 pages
Citation of Original PublicationColin E. Studds and Peter P. Marra, Rainfall-induced changes in food availability modify the spring departure programme of a migratory bird, Proc. R. Soc. B (2011) 278, 3437–3443, doi:10.1098/rspb.2011.0332
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This work was written as part of one of the author's official duties as an Employee of the United States Government and is therefore a work of the United States Government. In accordance with 17 U.S.C. 105, no copyright protection is available for such works under U.S. Law.
Climatic warming has intensified selection for earlier reproduction in many organisms, but potential constraints imposed by climate change outside the breeding period have received little attention. Migratory birds provide an ideal model for exploring such constraints because they face warming temperatures on temperate breeding grounds and declining rainfall on many tropical non-breeding areas. Here, we use longitudinal data on spring departure dates of American redstarts (Setophaga ruticilla) to show that annual variation in tropical rainfall and food resources are associated with marked change in the timing of spring departure of the same individuals among years. This finding challenges the idea that photoperiod alone regulates the onset of migration, providing evidence that intensifying drought in the tropical winter could hinder adaptive responses to climatic warming in the temperate zone.
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