Swifts and swallows in North America, new study

This video from the USA says about itself:

Martin and Tree Swallow nest cameras

Look inside bird nests in Kentucky as of May 18, 2015. First part is a Purple Martin, last part is a Tree Swallow. Watch momma Tree Swallow feed her featherless, pink babies yummy bugs!

From Ecography journal:

Differences in spatial synchrony and interspecific concordance inform guild-level population trends for aerial insectivorous birds

3 NOV 2015


Many animal species exhibit spatiotemporal synchrony in population fluctuations, which may provide crucial information about ecological processes driving population change.

We examined spatial synchrony and concordance among population trajectories of five aerial insectivorous bird species: chimney swift Chaetura pelagica, purple martin Progne subis, barn swallow Hirundo rustica, tree swallow Tachycineta bicolor, and northern rough-winged swallow Stelgidopteryx serripennis. Aerial insectivores have undergone severe guild-wide declines that were considered more prevalent in northeastern North America.

Here, we addressed four general questions including spatial synchrony within species, spatial concordance among species, frequency of declining trends among species, and geographic location of declining trends. We used dynamic factor analysis to identify large-scale common trends underlying stratum-specific annual indices for each species, representing population trajectories shared by spatially synchronous populations, from 46 yr of North American Breeding Bird Survey data. Indices were derived from Bayesian hierarchical models with continuous autoregressive spatial structures. Stratum-level spatial concordance among species was assessed using cross-correlation analysis.

Probability of long-term declining trends was compared among species using Bayesian generalized linear models. Chimney swifts exhibited declining trends throughout North America, with less severe declines through the industrialized Mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes regions. Northern rough-winged swallows exhibited declining trends throughout the west. Spatial concordance among species was limited, the proportion of declining trends varied among species, and contrary to previous reports, declining trends were not more prevalent in the northeast. Purple martins, barn swallows, and tree swallows exhibited synchrony across smaller spatial scales. The extensive within-species synchrony and limited concordance suggest that population trajectories of these aerial insectivores are responding to large-scale but complex and species- and region-specific environmental conditions (e.g. climate, land use). A single driver of trends for aerial insectivores as a guild appears unlikely.

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