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Ground-nesting by arboreal American robins (Turdus migratorius)
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  • Sarah Winnicki,
  • Mark Hauber,
  • Thomas Benson,
  • Mikus Abolins-Abols
Sarah Winnicki
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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Mark Hauber
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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Thomas Benson
University of Illinois
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Mikus Abolins-Abols
University of Louisville
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Abstract

Animals with dependent and vulnerable young need to decide where to raise their offspring to minimize ill effects of weather, competition, parasitism, and predation. These decisions have critical fitness consequences through impacting the survival of both adults and juveniles. Birds routinely place their nest in specific sites, allowing species to be broadly classified based on nest location (e.g., ground- or tree-nesting). However, from 2018–2020 we observed 24 American robin (Turdus migratorius) nests placed not on their species-typical arboreal substrates or human-made structures but on the ground at a predator-rich commercial arbor in Illinois, U.S.A. This behavior does not appear to be in response to competition and did not affect nest daily survival rate but was restricted to the early half of the breeding season. We hypothesize that ground-nesting may be an adaptive response to avoid exposure and colder temperatures at sites above the ground early in the breeding season or a non-adaptive consequence of latent robin nest-placement flexibility.
07 Oct 2021Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
08 Oct 2021Submission Checks Completed
08 Oct 2021Assigned to Editor
15 Oct 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
11 Nov 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
12 Nov 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
02 Dec 20211st Revision Received
03 Dec 2021Submission Checks Completed
03 Dec 2021Assigned to Editor
03 Dec 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
07 Dec 2021Editorial Decision: Accept
Jan 2022Published in Ecology and Evolution volume 12 issue 1. 10.1002/ece3.8489