Title

THE EFFECT OF ROADS ON AVIAN COMMUNITIES: INDIRECT EFFECTS ON NESTLINGS THROUGH PARENTAL FEEDING RATES

Presenter Information

Erin Johnson

Presentation Type

Poster

Abstract

Birds living in close proximity to roads have high levels of stress hormones and low reproductive success. Consequently, the presence of roads has been associated with population declines and decreased biodiversity in avian communities. Most studies have focused solely on adult birds; however, recent evidence suggests that nestlings are also susceptible to road effects. Roads affect nestling physiology, increase nest predation (e.g. nestling mortality), and increase nestling growth. These changes may be directly due to road noise/pollution, or indirectly through altered parental behavior. We investigated the effect of parental feeding rates on both hormonal and morphological patterns detected in relation to roads. Parental feeding was recorded with digital cameras, and videos were scored for total time at nest (attendance), incubation, and provisioning trips. To measure stress response, nestlings were restrained for 30 minutes and blood samples were obtained after zero, 15, and 30 minutes. We found that nestling stress response increases with male nest attendance, and male nest attendance increases close to roads. Increased nestling stress response suggests faster physiological development. Roads appear to affect nestlings indirectly by modulating paternal feeding rates. Road effects on nestlings may have long term repercussions on community success; understanding the pathways through which roads have these effects can clarify the issue and help direct management solutions.

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Apr 15th, 11:00 AM Apr 15th, 12:00 PM

THE EFFECT OF ROADS ON AVIAN COMMUNITIES: INDIRECT EFFECTS ON NESTLINGS THROUGH PARENTAL FEEDING RATES

UC South Ballroom

Birds living in close proximity to roads have high levels of stress hormones and low reproductive success. Consequently, the presence of roads has been associated with population declines and decreased biodiversity in avian communities. Most studies have focused solely on adult birds; however, recent evidence suggests that nestlings are also susceptible to road effects. Roads affect nestling physiology, increase nest predation (e.g. nestling mortality), and increase nestling growth. These changes may be directly due to road noise/pollution, or indirectly through altered parental behavior. We investigated the effect of parental feeding rates on both hormonal and morphological patterns detected in relation to roads. Parental feeding was recorded with digital cameras, and videos were scored for total time at nest (attendance), incubation, and provisioning trips. To measure stress response, nestlings were restrained for 30 minutes and blood samples were obtained after zero, 15, and 30 minutes. We found that nestling stress response increases with male nest attendance, and male nest attendance increases close to roads. Increased nestling stress response suggests faster physiological development. Roads appear to affect nestlings indirectly by modulating paternal feeding rates. Road effects on nestlings may have long term repercussions on community success; understanding the pathways through which roads have these effects can clarify the issue and help direct management solutions.