Infestations of bird blow flies (Protocalliphora spp. and Trypocalliphora braueri) have various negative effects on the condition of nestling birds. In the absence of other stressors such as inclement weather, however, infestation alone rarely reduces fledging success. Previous studies have documented effects of blow flies on nestling condition and fledging success. Without information regarding fledgling survival, the full effect of blow-fly infestation remains unclear. To fully investigate the effect of blow-fly infestation on reproductive success of the Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla), we monitored infested and non-infested nests and monitored fledglings from each by using radio telemetry. Blow flies did not affect birds during the nestling period, as brood size, mean nestling mass, fledging success, and time to fledging in infested and non-infested nests were no different. Fledgling survival and minimum distance traveled the first day after fledging, however, were significantly lower for infected fledglings than for those that were not infected. We conclude that the stress of the early fledgling period combined with recent or concurrent blow-fly infection increases mortality in young Ovenbirds. Our results demonstrate the importance of including the post-fledging period in investigations of the effects of ectoparasitic infestations on birds. ?? 2009 by The Cooper Ornithological Society. All rights reserved.
Additional Publication Details
Fledging success is a poor indicator of the effects of bird blow flies on ovenbird survival