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Ecology and Behavior of Chickadees and Titmicean integrated approach$
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Ken A. Otter

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780198569992

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198569992.001.0001

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Fine-scale variation in the timing of reproduction in titmice and chickadees

Fine-scale variation in the timing of reproduction in titmice and chickadees

(p.55) CHAPTER 5 Fine-scale variation in the timing of reproduction in titmice and chickadees
Ecology and Behavior of Chickadees and Titmice

Scott M. Ramsay

Ken A. Otter

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the fine-scale regulation of the timing of clutch initiation and fertility in Parids. This topic, which is the subject of long-term research studies on Eurasian tits and, recently, North American chickadees, considers the interaction between annual variation in weather patterns and food availability in regulating seasonal and individual variation in nest timing. Evidence from a variety of populations of tits reveals that clutch initiation is determined by a hierarchy of cues. Photoperiod regulates timing at the coarsest level, while temperature and food availability fine tune the onset of egg-laying within the year. There is ample evidence that females face costs in a number of fitness components if their reproduction is not optimally timed. In spite of all this evidence, some questions remain concerning the inter-relationships of timing, temperature, and female quality. It is also not clear why selection has not weeded out females that breed late. The current emphasis on the relationship of female timing to climate change may reveal the ability of populations to respond to selection for earlier laying and their changing sensitivity to the relevant cues.

Keywords:   titmice, chickadees, reproduction, reproductive timing, fine-scale variation, climatic variation

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