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Skylarks: Science meets conservation

Tieleman group - Research

Linking behavior and physiology to reproduction and survival

During many years the skylark was one of our most abundant breeding birds. Since the 1970s the number of breeding pairs in The Netherlands has dropped by almost 95%, reflecting trends in the countries around us. This decline is frequently associated with changed or changing conditions during the breeding season and in the breeding areas. However, we know little about what happens outside the breeding season, and about the impact of connections among events during different parts of the annual cycle, likely mediated by skylark body condition.

Maintaining energy balance is essential for all bodily functions, and especially important during demanding times such as cold winter days, migratory travels, or breeding activities. We seek to connect these year-round variations in body condition by measurements of immune function and energy balance. In addition we explore the connectivity between different stages of the annual cycle to identify the importance of carry-over effects from one season to the next. With our detailed monitoring of nests, eggs, chicks and adults we will be able to integrate much more information about sex ratios, diets, nest success, feeding behavior, and other skylark facts.

Collaborators: Arne Hegemann, Rob Voesten and others.

Skylark research
Skylark research
Last modified:17 May 2019 2.07 p.m.