Variation in the timing of breeding between suburban and wildland Florida Scrub-Jays: Do physiologic measures reflect different environments?

  • Stephan J. Schoech
  • Reed Bowman

Abstract

Evidence exists that access to anthropogenic food by birds in urban areas can result in earlier laying dates and larger clutch sizes, both of which have the potential to increase the relative fecundity of urban bird populations. Several mechanisms exist by which supplemental food can advance laying. Supplemental food may provide additional energy, essential nutrients, or an environmental cue that the resources necessary for breeding are available. We examined several physiologic measures of pre-breeding female Florida Scrub-Jays (Aphelocoma coerulescens) from a suburban and a wildland population to assess these alternative hypotheses. Plasma protein levels were higher in females from the suburban scrub-jay population, but the difference was absent when we controlled for the number of days prior to laying that we sampled the bird. However, plasma protein levels during the earliest sampling period, long before protein mobilization as a result of vitellogenesis should be occurring in either population, were higher in the suburban population. We found no differences in plasma calcium levels or in the total body lipids between suburban and wildland populations. In both populations, total body lipids declined as laying neared, suggesting that Florida Scrub-Jays may use some endogenous resources to fuel reproduction. From other studies, we know that suburban scrub-jays increase food intake rates relative to jays in wildland populations. However, this strategy does not appear to result in improved body condition. We suggest that the readily available proteins in anthropogenic foods may provide essential nutrients and high intake rates may serve as an environmental cue, both resulting in earlier laying in suburban jay populations. However, evidence exists suggesting that this may not increase, but rather decrease fecundity because breeding is out of synch with the seasonally fluctuating foods, such as arthropods, necessary to rear nestlings.

Key words

Florida Scrub-Jays physiology time of breeding urbanization 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Abrahamson, W. G., A. F. Johnson, J. N. Layne, and P. A. Peroni. 1984. Vegetation of the Archbold Biological Station, Florida: an example of the southern Lake Wales Ridge. Fla. Sci. 47:209–250.Google Scholar
  2. Ankney, C. D., and C. D. McInnes. 1978. Nutrient reserves and reproductive performance of female lesser snow geese. Auk 95:459–471.Google Scholar
  3. Ankney C. D. and R. T. Alisauskas. 1991. The use of nutrient reserves by breeding waterfowl, p. 2170–2176. In B. D. Bell, R. O. Cossee, J. E. C. Flux, B. D. Heather, R. A. Hitchmough, C. R. Robertson, and M. J. Williams [EDS.], Acta XX Congressus Internationalis Ornithologici. New Zealand Ornithological Congress Trust Board, Wellington, New Zealand.Google Scholar
  4. Asch, A., and D. D. Roby. 1995. Some factors affecting precision of the total body electrical conductivity technique for measuring body composition in live birds. Wilson Bull. 107:306–316.Google Scholar
  5. Benkman, C. W. 1990. Intake rates and the timing of crossbill reproduction. Auk 107:376–386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Blair, R. B., and A. E. Launer. 1997. Butteriy diversity and human land use: species assemblages along an urban gradient. Biol. Conserv. 80:113–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bolger, D. 2001. Urban birds: populations, community, and landscape approaches, p. 155–177. In J. M. Marzluff, R. Bowman, and R. Donnelly [EDS.], Avian ecology and conservation in an urbanizing world. Kluwer Academic, Norwell, MA.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bolger, D. T., A. V. Suarez, K. Crooks, and S. A. Morrison. 2000. Arthropods in habitat fragments: effects of area, edge and Argentine ants. Ecol. Appl. 10:1230–1248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Boutin, S. 1989. Food supplementation experiments with terrestrial vertebrates: patterns. problems, and the future. Can. J. Zool. 68:203–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bowman, R. and G. E. Woolfenden. 2001. Nest success and the timing of nest failure of Florida Scrub-Jays in suburban and wildland habitats, p. 385–404. In J. M. Marzluff, R. Bowman, and R. Donnelly [EDS.], Avian ecology and conservation in an urbanizing world. Kluwer Academic, Norwell, MA.Google Scholar
  11. Bowman, R., G. E. Woolfenden, and J. W. Fitzpatrick. 1998. Timing of breeding and clutch size in the Florida Scrub-Jay, Aphelocoma coerulescens. Ostrich 69:316.Google Scholar
  12. Carey, C. 1996. Female reproductive energetic, p. 324–374 In C. Carey [ED.]. Avian energetics and nutritional ecology. Chapman and Hall, New York.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Deeley, R. G., R. A. Burtch-Wright, C. E. Grant, P. A. Hoodless, A. K. Ryan, and T. J. Schrader. 1993. Synthesis and deposition of egg proteins, p. 205–222 In R. J. Etches and A. M. Verrinder [EDS.]. Manipulation of the avian genome. CRC Press, Boca Raton.Google Scholar
  14. Deny, C, and H. Schmidt. 1998. Insect communities on experimental mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris L.) Plots along an urban gradient. Oecologia 113:269–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Drent, R. H., and S. Daan. 1980. The prudent parent: energetic adjustments in avian breeding. Ardea 68:225–252.Google Scholar
  16. Fleischer, A. L. Jr. 2000. The influence of time budget and rate of food handling and consumption on the timing of breeding of female Florida Scrub-Jays (Aphelocoma coerulescens): A comparison between populations in natural and suburban habitats. MS thesis, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL.Google Scholar
  17. Ho, S-M. 1991. Vitellogenesis, p. 91–126 In P. K. T. Pang and M. P. Schreibman [EDS.]. Vertebrate endocrinology: Fundamentals and biomedical implications, Vol. 4. Academic Press, Orlando.Google Scholar
  18. Jackson, R. L., H. Y. Lin, J. T. S. Chan, and A. R. Means. 1977. Estrogen induction of plasma vitellogenin in the cockerel: studies with phosvitin antibody. Endocrinology 101:849–857.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kenagy, G. J., and B. M. Barnes. 1988. Seasonal reproductive patterns in four coexisting rodent species from the Cascade Mountains, Washington. J. Mammol. 69:274–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Klasing, K. C. 1998. Comparative Avian Nutrition. Cab International, New York.Google Scholar
  21. Meijer, T., S. Daan, and M. Hall. 1990. Family planning in the kestrel (Falco tinnunculus): The proximate control of covariation of laying date and clutch size. Behaviour 114:117–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Meijer, T. S., and R. Drent. 1999. Re-examination of the capital and income dichotomy in breeding birds. Ibis 141:399–414.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Moore, F. L., and L. J. Miller. 1984. Stress-induced inhibition of sexual behavior: corticosterone inhibits courtship behaviors of a male amphibian (Taricha granulosa). Horm. Behav. 18:400–410.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Moore, F. L., and R. T. Zoeller. 1985. Stress-induced inhibition of reproduction: evidence of suppressed secretion of LH-RH in an amphibian. Gen. Comp. Endocrinol. 60:252–258.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Morton, J. M., R. L. Kirkpatrick, and E. P. Smith. 1991. Comments on estimating total body lipids from measures of lean mass. Condor 93:463–465.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Mumme, R. L. 1992. Do helpers increase reproductive success? An experimental analysis in the Florida scrub jay. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 31:319–328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Perrins, C. M. 1965. Population fluctuations and clutch size in the great tit (Parus major). J. Anim. Ecol. 34:601–647.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Perrins, C. 1970. The timing of birds’ breeding seasons. Ibis 112:242–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Perrins, C. M. 1996. Eggs, egg formation and the timing of breeding. Ibis 138:2–15.Google Scholar
  30. Pierotti, R., and C. Annett. 2001. The ecology of Western Gulls in habitats varying in degree of urban influence, p. 309–331. In J. M. Marzluff, R. Bowman, and R. Donnelly [EDS.], Avian ecology and conservation in an urbanizing world. Kluwer Academic, Norwell, MA.Google Scholar
  31. Roby, D. 1991. A comparison of two noninvasive techniques to measure total body lipid in live birds. Auk 108:509–518.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Sapolsky, R. M. 1987. Stress, social status, and reproductive physiology in free-living baboons, p. 291–321 In D. Crews [ED.], Psychobiology of reproductive behavior: An evolutionary perspective. Prentice-Hall, New Jersey.Google Scholar
  33. Schaub, R., R. L. Mumme, and G. E. Woolfenden. 1992. Predation on the eggs and nestlings of Florida scrub jays. Auk 109:585–593.Google Scholar
  34. Schoech, S. J. 1996. The effect of supplemental food on body condition and the timing of reproduction in a cooperative breeder, the Florida scrub-jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens). Condor 98:234–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Schoech, S.J., R. L. Mumme, and M.C. Moore. 1991. Reproductive endocrinology and mechanisms of breeding inhibition in cooperatively breeding Florida scrub jays (Aphelocoma c. coerulescens). Condor 93:354–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Schoech, S. J., R. L. Mumme, and J. C. Wingfield. 1996. Delayed breeding in the cooperatively breeding Florida scrub-jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens): inhibition or the absence of stimulation. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 39:77–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Siegel, H. S. 1980. Physiological stress in birds. Bioscience 30:529–534.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Svensson, E. 1995. Avian reproductive timing: when should parents be prudent? Anim. Behav. 49:1569–1575.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Wasser, S. K., K. Bevis, G. King, and E. Hanson. 1997. Noninvasive physiological measures of disturbance in the northern spotted owl. Cons. Biol. 11:1019–1022.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Walsberg, G. E. 1988. Evaluation of a nondestructive method for determining fat stores in small birds and mammals. Physiol. Zool. 61:153–159.Google Scholar
  41. White, H. B., III. 1991. Maternal diet, maternal proteins and egg quality, p. 1–15 In D. C. Deeming and M. W. J. Ferguson [EDS.], Egg incubation: Its effects on embryonic development in birds and reptiles. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Williams, T. D., and S. P. Ternan. 1999. Food intake, locomotor activity, and egg laying in Zebra finches: Contribution to reproductive energy demand? Physiol. Biochem. Zool. 72:19–27.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Wilson, F. E., and B. K. Follett. 1975. Corticosterone-induced gonadosuppression in photostimulated tree sparrows. Life Sci. 17:1451–1456.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Wingfield, J. C. 1988. Changes in reproductive function of free-living birds in direct response to environmental perturbations, p. 121–148 In M. H. Stetson [ED.], Processing of environmental information in vertebrates, Springer-Verlag, Berlin.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Wingfield, J. C. 1994. Modulation of the adrenocortical response to stress in birds, p. 520–528 In K. G. Davey, R. E. Peter, and S. S. Tobe [EDS.]. Perspectives in comparative endocrinology. Natl. Res. Council of Canada.Google Scholar
  46. Winkler, D. W., and P. E. Allen. 1996. The seasonal decline in tree swallow clutch size: physiological constraint or strategic adjustment? Ecology 77:922–932.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Woolfenden, G. E., and J. W. Fitzpatrick. 1984. The Florida Scrub Jay: Demography of a Cooperative-breeding Bird. Princeton University Press, New Jersey.Google Scholar
  48. Woolfenden, G. E., and J. W. Fitzpatrick. 1990. Florida scrub jays: a synopsis after 18 years of study, p. 241–266 In P. B. Stacy and W. D. Koenig [EDS.], Cooperative breeding in birds: Long-term studies of ecology and behavior. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  49. Woolfenden, G. E., and J. W. Fitzpatrick. 1996. Florida Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens), p. 1–28 In A. Poole and F. Gill [EDS.], The birds of North America, No. 228. The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, and The American Ornithologists’ Union, Washington, D. C.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephan J. Schoech
    • 1
  • Reed Bowman
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of MemphisUSA
  2. 2.Archbold Biological StationLake PlacidUSA

Personalised recommendations