Effects of the doubly labelled water procedure on Great Tits Parus major feeding young

Shelley A. Hinsley, Paul E. Bellamy, Peter Rothery, Paula Redman, Lindsay Furness, John R. Speakman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Capsule Female feeding rate behaviour was highly variable between individuals but no effect of the doubly labelled water (DLW) procedure on female visit rate was detected, whereas visit rates by males, which were neither trapped or manipulated, increased following trapping and manipulation of their partners. Aims To test the assumption that the subject's behaviour is normal during the measurement period when using DLW to measure energy expenditure. Methods Visits to the nestbox by parents feeding young were counted separately for females and males on the day before and the day after the female only was trapped to measure her energy expenditure using DLW. Visit rates were also counted for control pairs. Results Female visit rates did not differ before and after manipulation, or between experimental and control pairs, but bird behaviour was highly variable between individuals. In contrast, the visit rates of both experimental and control males, which were not trapped, increased on the second day. Conclusion The results for female behaviour supported the assumption of normality, but a small subset of particular individuals may be prone to adverse reactions. The response of the males may have been a reaction to disturbance at the nest.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-159
Number of pages9
JournalBird Study
Volume58
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2011

Bibliographical note

The DLW procedures were carried under Home Office Licence no. PPL 80/1756 and English Nature Licence nos. 20030897 and 20040579 and the whole project was subject to ethical review at the CEH site (now closed) at Monks Wood. We would like to thank the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation for their support in funding the equipment, isotope and analysis costs of the DLW procedure. We would also like to thank Natural England and The Wildlife Trust for access, Peter Ferns for improving the manuscript, Bob Furness for suggestions concerning seabirds and r- and K-selection, and also Jan-Åke Nilsson and Nancy Harrison (helpful comment/discussions), Hazel Mitchell (admin support) and Phil Croxton (nestbox modification).

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