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  1. Abstract

    The seasonal movement of animals has been linked to seasonal variation in ecological productivity, and it has been hypothesized that primary consumers synchronize migration with vegetation phenology. Within temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, herbivorous bird species often track the phenology of vegetation greenness during spring migration. Phenological synchronization with vegetation greenness by migratory birds in other dietary guilds, across the full extent of their annual distributions during both spring and autumn migration, has not been explored.

    Here, we document population‐level associations with a remotely sensed measure of vegetation greenness for 230 North American migratory bird species in seven dietary guilds across the full annual cycle using eBird occurrence information for the combined period 2006–2018.

    Evidence of phenological synchronization was strongest for omnivores, herbivores, herbivore–granivores and granivores during spring and autumn migration, except for omnivores in the west during spring migration. Strong evidence of synchronization was also observed for insectivores during spring migration and carnivores during spring and autumn migration that migrated across the entire breadth of the continent. The level of evidence declined for insectivores in the west and east during spring migration, and for nectarivores in the west during spring and autumn migration. Limited evidence was also found for insectivores in the east during autumn migration, insectivores in the west and the centre of the continent during spring and autumn migration, and carnivores in the west during spring migration. Carnivores in the west during autumn migration showed the weakest evidence of synchronization.

    We found broad support across an array of dietary guilds for phenological coupling between vegetation greenness and seasonal bird migration within North America. Our results highlight the potential for many migratory bird species to encounter phenological mismatches as vegetation phenology responds to climate change. Our findings emphasize the need to better understand the environmental cues that regulate migratory behaviour across dietary guilds, consumer levels and migration tactics.

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  2. Abstract

    Events during one stage of the annual cycle can reversibly affect an individual's condition and performance not only within that stage, but also in subsequent stages (i.e. reversible state effects). Despite strong conceptual links, however, few studies have been able to empirically link individual‐level reversible state effects with larger‐scale demographic processes.

    We studied both survival and potential reversible state effects in a long‐distance migratory shorebird, the Hudsonian GodwitLimosa haemastica. Specifically, we estimated period‐specific survival probabilities across the annual cycle and examined the extent to which an individual's body condition, foraging success and habitat quality during the nonbreeding season affected its subsequent survival and reproductive performance.

    Godwit survival rates were high throughout the annual cycle, but lowest during the breeding season, only slightly higher during southbound migration and highest during the stationary nonbreeding season. Our results indicate that overwintering godwits foraging in high‐quality habitats had comparably better nutritional status and pre‐migratory body condition, which in turn improved their return rates and the likelihood that their nests and chicks survived during the subsequent breeding season.

    Reversible state effects thus appeared to link events between nonbreeding and breeding seasons via an individual's condition, in turn affecting their survival and subsequent reproductive performance. Our study thus provides one of the few empirical demonstrations of theoretical predictions that reversible state effects have the potential to influence population dynamics.

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