Earlier initiation of nests by breeding birds may reflect an adaptive response to changes in food availability or warming of spring temperatures, but the consequences of initiating nests too early may be severe, particularly at high elevations. A rare snowstorm in late May 2008 resulted in nest abandonment by 68% of Red-faced Warblers (Cardellina rubrifrons) breeding in a high-elevation riparian ecosystem of southeastern Arizona. In addition, climate data from our study site from 1950 to 2008 revealed higher-than-average springtime temperatures during the past 10 years. If birds respond to this increase in springtime temperatures by nesting earlier their vulnerability to spring snowstorms may increase. ?? 2009 by The Cooper Ornithological Society. All rights reserved.
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Effects of an unseasonable snowstorm on red-faced Warbler nesting success