1 research outputs found

    Age effects in Darwin’s finches: older males build more concealed nests in areas with more heterospecific singing neighbors

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    Nesting success tends to increase with age in birds, in part because older birds select more concealed nest sites based on experience and/or an assessment of prevailing predation risk. In general, greater plant diversity is associated with more biodiversity and more vegetation cover. Here, we ask if older Darwin’s finch males nest in areas with greater vegetation cover and if these nest sites also have greater avian species diversity assessed using song. We compared patterns in Darwin’s Small Tree Finch (Camarhynchus parvulus) and Darwin’s Small Ground Finch (Geospiza fuliginosa) as males build the nest in both systems. We measured vegetation cover, nesting height, and con- vs. heterospecific songs per minute at 55 nests (22 C. parvulus, 33 G. fuliginosa). As expected, in both species, older males built nests in areas with more vegetation cover and these nests had less predation. A novel finding is that nests of older males also had more heterospecific singing neighbors. Future research could test whether older males outcompete younger males for access to preferred nest sites that are more concealed and sustain a greater local biodiversity. The findings also raise questions about the ontogenetic and fitness consequences of different acoustical experiences for developing nestlings inside the nest.</p