Demographic drivers of Black-throated Blue Warbler population dynamics at the trailing edge and core of the species’ range

Ryan W. Chitwood, Richard B. Chandler, Mason H. Cline, Michael T. Hallworth, Joanna L. Hatt, T. Scott Sillett, Kirk W. Stodola, Robert J. Cooper

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Species’ ranges are shifting poleward and to higher elevations in response to climate change. To investigate the demographic drivers of range shifts, we examined spatial and temporal patterns in black-throated blue warbler (Setophaga caerulescens) density at the core and trailing edge of the species’ range to evaluate the initial hypothesis that this species’ range is shifting. We used capture-recapture data from these two sites to evaluate the alternative hypotheses that the apparent range shift in this species is driven by climate change effects on recruitment, a primarily breeding ground factor, or that the range shift is driven by changes in survival, a primarily non-breeding factor. Our results demonstrated that population density declined at the trailing edge, but remained stable in the core of the range, supporting the hypothesis that the black-throated blue warblers range is shifting. Survival rates were higher but recruitment rates were lower at the trailing edge, supporting the hypothesis that low recruitment is driving trailing-edge population declines. Future work should seek to understand how climate influences recruitment at trailing-edge range margins via changes in either reproduction, juvenile survival, or dispersal because recruitment appears to drive population dynamics for this species.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2018 Joint Meeting of the Association of Field Ornithologists and the Wilson Ornithological Society, 7-9 June 2018, Chattanooga, Tennessee
StatePublished - 2018


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