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The effect of wind on the rate of heat loss from avian cup-shaped nests

By C. Heenan and R. Seymour

Abstract

Forced convection can significantly influence the heat loss from birds and their offspring but effects may be reduced by using sheltered micro-sites such as cavities or constructing nests. The structural and thermal properties of the nests of two species, the spiny-cheeked honeyeater (Acanthagenys rufogularis) and yellow-throated miner (Manorina flavigula), were measured in relation to three wind speeds. Nest dimensions differ between the two species, despite the similar body mass of the incubating adults, however nest conductance is comparable. As wind speed increases, so does the rate of heat loss from the nests of both species, and further still during incubation recesses. The significance of forced convection through the nest is a near-doubling in heat production required by the parent, even when incubating at relatively low wind speeds. This provides confirmation that selecting a sheltered nest site is important for avian reproductive success.Caragh B. Heenan and Roger S. Seymou

Topics: Animals; Birds; Nesting Behavior; Temperature; Wind; Body Temperature Regulation
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Year: 2012
DOI identifier: 10.1371/journal.pone.0032252
OAI identifier: oai:digital.library.adelaide.edu.au:2440/72987
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