Authors
  • Jones, Jason
  • Barg, Jennifer J.
  • Sillett, Scott T.
  • Veit, Lisa M.
  • Robertson, Raleigh J.
Universities

Summary

The Cerulean Warbler (Dendroica cerulea) tops many lists of species of conservation concern because of severe population declines and habitat loss. Here we present the first robust estimates of annual survival and population growth rates for this species. We used capture—mark—recapture models to estimate survival of adult male Cerulean Warblers in an eastern Ontario population that has been studied since 1994. Adult male survival probability (ϕ) was constant over time in our best-supported model. Our second-best-supported model indicated a negative effect of a 1998 ice storm on survival. The third-best-supported model indicated a significant year effect on survival. On the basis of those results and previously published estimates of annual fecundity, we calculated a population growth rate using a two-stage Leslie matrix. Population growth rate (λ) was 0.73, using the estimate for constant survival. Model elasticities imply that adult mortality had a stronger effect on λ than did seasonal fecundity. Oversummer survival estimates suggest that events during migration or on wintering grounds are responsible for most adult male mortality. It appears that our study population, thought to be one of the healthiest known for this species, may not be currently reproducing at a high enough rate to accommodate adult mortality. However, caution must be used when interpreting those results, given the possibility of underestimating survival and fecundity of this species.

Methodology

Capture-mark-recapture models

Location