Title

PARENTAL FORAGING AND CARE DURING THE FLEDGLING PERIOD

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

During the fledgling life-stage, young birds have left the nest but still depend on parents, especially for food. Research of the fledgling life-stage has been largely restricted to patterns of survival and dispersal, although, these patterns may interact with parental care and provisioning. I examined parental care behavior, particularly the division of care between parents, during this period by attaching radio transmitters to red-faced warbler (Cardelina rubrifrons) (n = 5) and dark-eyed junco (Junco hyemalis) (n = 10) parents with fledglings. I used radio telemetry to locate parents, noting parent behavior and location with a GPS unit approximately every 2 minutes during 4 to 6 hour focal observations that took place in 1-3 day intervals. I used these data to calculate the distance between fledglings and fledgling mobility. These two species demonstrated different parental care for fledglings. Red-faced warbler parents always split the brood between the male and female, such that both parents did not care for the same fledgling(s), whereas dark-eyed junco parents did not strictly divide their young. These different parental care strategies produced different patterns of fledgling dispersion as offspring aged. Red-faced warbler families tended to diverge with time as parents kept fledglings spatially separated and parent groups drifted apart, whereas dark-eyed junco family groups remained aggregated during the fledgling period with all parents and fledglings staying together in a single area. These differences in parental care behavior may affect the distance traveled by parents to obtain food to provision young. Thus, variation in parental care strategies may affect parental foraging economics, survival, and population dynamics.

Category

Life Sciences

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Apr 15th, 2:40 PM Apr 15th, 3:00 PM

PARENTAL FORAGING AND CARE DURING THE FLEDGLING PERIOD

UC 331

During the fledgling life-stage, young birds have left the nest but still depend on parents, especially for food. Research of the fledgling life-stage has been largely restricted to patterns of survival and dispersal, although, these patterns may interact with parental care and provisioning. I examined parental care behavior, particularly the division of care between parents, during this period by attaching radio transmitters to red-faced warbler (Cardelina rubrifrons) (n = 5) and dark-eyed junco (Junco hyemalis) (n = 10) parents with fledglings. I used radio telemetry to locate parents, noting parent behavior and location with a GPS unit approximately every 2 minutes during 4 to 6 hour focal observations that took place in 1-3 day intervals. I used these data to calculate the distance between fledglings and fledgling mobility. These two species demonstrated different parental care for fledglings. Red-faced warbler parents always split the brood between the male and female, such that both parents did not care for the same fledgling(s), whereas dark-eyed junco parents did not strictly divide their young. These different parental care strategies produced different patterns of fledgling dispersion as offspring aged. Red-faced warbler families tended to diverge with time as parents kept fledglings spatially separated and parent groups drifted apart, whereas dark-eyed junco family groups remained aggregated during the fledgling period with all parents and fledglings staying together in a single area. These differences in parental care behavior may affect the distance traveled by parents to obtain food to provision young. Thus, variation in parental care strategies may affect parental foraging economics, survival, and population dynamics.