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To fledge or not to fledge: factors influencing the number of eggs and the eggs-to-fledglings rate in White Storks Ciconia ciconia in an agricultural environment

  • Numerous studies have explored the relationship between environmental factors and White Stork Ciconia ciconia reproduction, mainly expressing breeding success as the number of fledglings. Nonetheless, one of the most critical life-history stages in birds falls between egg-laying and fledging, and identifying the factors causing offspring mortality during this period provides valuable knowledge. We quantified the number of laid White Stork eggs and the proportion of eggs that turned into fledglings in an agriculture-dominated region in Eastern Germany. Moreover, we identified the factors among land cover, weather and arrival dates, which influenced these two reproductive measures the most, and analysed the monitored mortality causes. On average, four eggs were laid per nest, and 57.8 % of the eggs turned into fledglings. The number of eggs laid was best explained by the negative effect of the arrival date of the second stork, while the percentage of eggs that turned into fledglings was more dependent on weather: most importantNumerous studies have explored the relationship between environmental factors and White Stork Ciconia ciconia reproduction, mainly expressing breeding success as the number of fledglings. Nonetheless, one of the most critical life-history stages in birds falls between egg-laying and fledging, and identifying the factors causing offspring mortality during this period provides valuable knowledge. We quantified the number of laid White Stork eggs and the proportion of eggs that turned into fledglings in an agriculture-dominated region in Eastern Germany. Moreover, we identified the factors among land cover, weather and arrival dates, which influenced these two reproductive measures the most, and analysed the monitored mortality causes. On average, four eggs were laid per nest, and 57.8 % of the eggs turned into fledglings. The number of eggs laid was best explained by the negative effect of the arrival date of the second stork, while the percentage of eggs that turned into fledglings was more dependent on weather: most important parameters were mean temperature in the fifth and seventh weeks after the assumed breeding start (i.e. around the assumed hatching date), and the number of consecutive days with precipitation when nestlings are assumed to be approximately 3 weeks old. In an agricultural environment, weather effects that potentially disturb food availability might be more important than effects directly affecting the survival of White Stork offspring. The most frequent observed mortality cause, nest fights, furthermore revealed the relevance of intraspecific competition in the study population.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Ute EggersGND, Michael Arens, Mario Firla, Dieter Wallschläger
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10336-015-1182-9
ISSN:0021-8375 (print)
ISSN:1439-0361 (online)
Parent Title (English):Journal of ornithology
Publisher:Springer
Place of publication:New York
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2015
Year of Completion:2015
Release Date:2017/03/27
Tag:Arrival dates; Breeding success; Clutch size; Land use; Mortality causes; Weather impact
Volume:156
Issue:3
Pagenumber:13
First Page:711
Last Page:723
Funder:Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU); science faculty of the University of Potsdam (GFK/Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultat); German Science Foundation DFG [WI 3576/1-1]
Organizational units:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Biochemie und Biologie
Peer Review:Referiert