2019 Graduate Student Showcase

Title of Submission

Timing is of the Essence: Later Breeding Predicts Lower Survival in American Kestrels (Falco sparverius)

Degree Program

Raptor Biology, MS

Major Advisor Name

Julie Heath

Type of Submission

Scholarly Poster


Organisms have evolved annual cycles so that energy-intensive life-history events coincide with peak food abundance. I used breeding season mark-recapture data from American kestrels to test the hypothesis of whether the mismatch between lay-date and the start-of-spring would predict adult survival. We also tested whether the timing of when a bird fledged relative to the onset of spring predicted hatch-year mortality. Preliminary results show that timing did predict apparent survival rates of both adult and hatch-year kestrels. Understanding the fitness of breeding phenology for a species will help us predict how that species could be affected by a changing climate.

Funding Information

SERDP Award Number RC2702

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