Influences of the El Nino/Southern Oscillation and the North Atlantic Oscillation on avian productivity in forests of the Pacific Northwest of North America
Nott, M Philip; Desante, D.F.; Siegel, R.B.; Pyle, P.
Global Ecology and Biogeography y; 11(4): 333-342
To model the effects of global climate phenomena on avian population dynamics, we must identify and quantify the spatial and temporal relationships between climate, weather and bird populations. Previous studies show that in Europe, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) influences winter and spring weather that in turn affects resident and migratory landbird species. Similarly, in North America, the El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) of the Pacific Ocean reportedly drives weather patterns that affect prey availability and population dynamics of landbird species which winter in the Caribbean. Here we show that ENSO- and NAO-induced seasonal weather conditions differentially affect neotropical- and temperate-wintering landbird species that breed in Pacific North-west forests of North America. For neotropical species wintering in western Mexico, El Nino conditions correlate with cooler, wetter conditions prior to spring migration, and with high reproductive success the following summer. For temperate wintering species, springtime NAO indices correlate strongly with levels of forest defoliation by the larvae of two moth species and also with annual reproductive success, especially among species known to prey upon those larvae. Generalized linear models incorporating NAO indices and ENSO precipitation indices explain 50-90% of the annual variation in productivity reported for 10 landbird species. These results represent an important step towards spatially explicit modelling of avian population dynamics at regional scales.