Effects of temperature and season on birds’ dawn singing behavior in a forest of eastern China

Abstract

Birds’ dawn chorus is a daily period of high song output, which mainly occurs during the breeding season. Monitoring such chorus may provide important information about birds’ ecology and the function of bird vocalizations at dawn. In this study, we have recorded dawn singing activity from April to June 2019 at seven different sites in Yaoluoping National Nature Reserve (YNNR) in the eastern China and examined the effects of extrinsic factors such as temperature and time of the season on the dawn singing behavior of four common birds Alström’s Warbler (Phylloscopus soror), Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler (Pomatorhinus ruficolli), Brownish-flanked Bush Warbler (Cettia fortipes) and Chinese Hwamei (Garrulax canorus). In total, we analyzed 1511 days of recordings, 417 days for Alström’s Warbler, 343 days for Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler, 391 days for Brownish-flanked Bush Warbler, and 360 days for Chinese Hwamei. Our results showed that the dawn singing start time of Alström’s Warbler, Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler and Brownish-flanked Bush Warbler were negatively affected by temperature in such a way that birds started singing later at the higher temperature; however, dawn singing start time of Chinese Hwamei was not affected by temperature change. As for Alström’s Warbler and Brownish-flanked Bush Warbler, their singing rate decreased significantly with high temperatures, whereas the singing rates of the other two species were not significantly related to the temperature. The Julian date did not affect the dawn singing start time of any species. The Julian date influenced the singing rate of Alström’s Warbler, Brownish-flanked Bush Warbler, and Chinese Hwamei. In contrast, the singing rate of Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler remained constant with the seasonal progression. Our results indicated that bird’s dawn singing activity is species-specific and is sensitive to environmental factors such as temperature and time of the season.

Zusammenfassung

Auswirkungen von Temperatur und Jahreszeit auf das Gesangsverhalten von Vögeln in der Morgendämmerung in einem Waldgebiet im Osten Chinas

Der Morgengesang der Vögel ist ein täglicher Zeitabschnitt mit hoher Gesangsaktivität, die hauptsächlich während der Brutzeit auftritt. Die Aufnahmen solcher Morgengesänge können wichtige Informationen über die Vogelökologie und Funktion des Morgengesangs liefern. In dieser Studie haben wir von April bis Juni 2019 an sieben verschiedenen Standorten im Yaoluoping Naturschutzgebiet (engl. Yaoluoping National Nature Reserve, YNNR) im Osten Chinas die Morgengesangsaktivität aufgezeichnet und die Auswirkungen von extrinsischen Faktoren wie Temperatur und Jahreszeit auf das Morgengesangsverhalten von vier häufigen Vogelarten untersucht: Alström-Laubsänger (Phylloscopus soror), Rotnackensäbler (Pomatorhinus ruficollis), Bergseidensänger (Horornis fortipes) und Augenbrauenhäherling (Garrulax canorus). Insgesamt analysierten wir 1.511 Aufnahmetage, davon 417 Tage für den Alström- Laubsänger, 343 Tage für den Rotnackensäbler, 391 Tage für den Bergseidensänger und 360 Tage für den Augenbrauenhäherling. Unsere Ergebnisse zeigten, dass der Startzeitpunkt des Morgengesanges beim Alström-Laubsänger, Rotnackensäbler und Bergseidensänger von der Temperatur negativ beeinflusst wurde, sodass die Vögel bei höheren Temperaturen später zu singen begannen. Jedoch war der Startzeitpunkt des Morgengesanges beim Augenbrauenhäherling nicht von der Temperaturänderung beeinflusst. Beim Alström-Laubsänger und Bergseidensänger nahm die Gesangsrate bei höheren Temperaturen signifikant ab, während die Gesangsrate der beiden anderen Arten nicht signifikant von der Temperatur abhängig war. Das julianische Datum zeigte bei keiner Art einen Einfluss auf den Startpunkt des Morgengesanges. Dafür beeinflusste das julianische Datum die Gesangsrate von Alström-Laubsänger, Bergseidensänger und Augenbrauenhäherling. Im Gegensatz dazu blieb die Gesangsrate des Rotnackensäblers während des jahreszeitlichen Verlaufs konstant. Unsere Ergebnisse deuteten darauf hin, dass die Morgengesangsaktivität der Vögel artenspezifisch ist und auf Umweltfaktoren wie Temperatur und Jahreszeit reagiert.

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Acknowledgements

We appreciate the assistance of Dr. Jingang Jiang for his help during the initial stages of the study. Field surveys were conducted under the instruction of Jun Chu and forest managers of the Yaoluoping National Nature Reserve to whom we are most grateful. We thank the two anonymous reviewers for helping us to improve the manuscript. This work was financially supported by the Hefei Institutes of Physical Science, the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Lastly, S. M. P. would like to thank the China scholarship council.

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Correspondence to Fanglin Liu.

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Puswal, S.M., Jinjun, M. & Liu, F. Effects of temperature and season on birds’ dawn singing behavior in a forest of eastern China. J Ornithol (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10336-020-01848-8

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Keywords

  • Birds
  • Dawn chorus
  • Elevation
  • Julian date
  • Soundscape
  • Temperature
  • Wildlife acoustics