temperatures may exert negative effects on altricial nestlings, especially
during their first days of life, when thermoregulation is not yet fully
developed. We experimentally lowered nest temperatures by a mean of 4.5 °C
during early development of great tit Parus
major nestlings from the Mediterranean region. The thermal treatment only
affected nestling size, as cooled nestlings had smaller tarsi by day 15 than
controls. Female brooding constancy remained unaltered and female body
condition was not negatively affected, so females did not incur additional
energetic costs to ameliorate thermal conditions for nestlings. In conclusion,
we found that colder nest microclimates may impair nestling growth, which may
have negative consequences on future survival.
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