Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Environmental Studies

First Advisor

Lesley Bulluck

Second Advisor

Derek Johnson

Third Advisor

Daniel McGarvey

Fourth Advisor

Leonard Smock


Food supply has been suggested as the main determinant of reproductive success in birds. Riparian species can take advantage of seasonal pulses of both terrestrial and aquatic prey, though aquatic resources are often overlooked in studies of diet and reproductive ecology. This study investigates the flux of both aquatic (mayfly) and terrestrial (caterpillar) prey resources and nestling diet of the Prothonotary Warbler throughout the breeding season in two eastern Virginia sites. One site had significantly higher aquatic prey (mayfly) availability. Nestling diet was generally reflective of prey availability, and nestlings grew faster at the site with high aquatic prey availability. At the site with low aquatic prey availability, nestling growth rates and condition were positively correlated with the amount of aquatic prey in the diet. Our results provide evidence that aquatic subsidies are an important resource for nestlings, and are crucial to understanding the breeding ecology of riparian species.


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