Category: E. Dale Kennedy (Faculty Co-author)

Natalie Dubois

Dubois, N. S., Kennedy, E. D., & Getty, T. (2006). Surplus Nest Boxes and the Potential for Polygyny Affect Clutch Size and Offspring Sex Ratio in House Wrens. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences, 273(1595), 1751-1757.

Abstract: Females of many species can gain benefits from being choosy about their mates and even exhibit context-dependent investment in reproduction in response to the quality of their breeding situation. Here, we show that if a male house wren is provided with surplus nest boxes in his territory, his mate lays a larger clutch with a significantly higher proportion of sons. This response to a territory characteristic directly associated with male competitive ability, and ultimately to male reproductive success, suggests that male competition over access to high-quality territories with surplus nest boxes (i.e. those able to support polygyny) may influence female reproductive investment decisions. The results of this study have interesting implications, particularly considering the important role that studies of cavity nesting birds utilizing nest boxes have played in advancing our understanding of behaviour, ecology and evolution.

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