Seasonal patterns of nocturnal singing by ovenbirds and white-throated sparrows

in Behaviour
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Abstract

Recent research suggests that many diurnal songbirds also sing at night. The functions of nocturnal singing by diurnally active birds are not well understood. We used automated recorders to record nocturnal singing from May through July 2014. We examined how date, temperature, wind, weather, and lunar phase influenced nocturnal vocal behaviour. We found that nocturnal singing by ovenbirds and white-throated sparrows was related to date with clear seasonal patterns that did not mirror the dawn chorus. Nocturnal singing rates declined seasonally, but peaked earlier for white-throated sparrows than for ovenbirds. Both species sang less often on nights with a full moon or precipitation. Ovenbirds also sang fewer songs on cold and windy nights while white-throated sparrows sang less often on cloudy nights. We show that nocturnal song is shaped by environmental factors and shows a seasonal pattern that may be useful for gaining insights into functions of nocturnal song.

Seasonal patterns of nocturnal singing by ovenbirds and white-throated sparrows

in Behaviour

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Figures

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    Results of best binomial Generalized Linear Mixed Model for ovenbird (N=31) nocturnal flight song presence/absence.

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    Hypothesized seasonal pattern of song delivery for competing hypotheses from La (2012).

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    Results of truncated Poisson Generalized Linear Mixed Model for non-zero values of number of ovenbird (N=31) nocturnal flight songs/night.

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    Seasonal pattern of ovenbird nocturnal flight songs from 2 May to 29 July. (a) Mean of songs present (0, no songs detected; 1, songs detected for 31 males) and (b) mean number of songs/h male or dates and males (1, songs present).

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    Mean song rate of ovenbirds for days where song is present in relation to (a) temperature, (b) wind speed, (c) weather and (d) lunar phase.

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    Results of best binomial Generalized Linear Mixed Model for the presence/absence of nocturnal singing by six male white-throated sparrows.

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    Seasonal pattern of nocturnal singing by male white-throated sparrows from 2 May to 29 July. (a) Mean of songs present (0, no songs detected; 1, songs detected for six males) and (b) mean number of songs/h for dates and males where songs were present.

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