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Golondrinas Database

Nominal Required Seasonal Data

In order for the Golondrinas network to function in the rigorous examination of latitudinal and ecological questions about Tachycineta life-history variation, it is mandatory that each site collect a minimal set of data, from at least 100 nest boxes every breeding season. Our experience in Ithaca suggests that one can expect swallow occupancy of about 65% of boxes once they have been available for 2-3 years. Therefore, the minimal data collection will involve gathering information on at least 65 nesting pairs each year. Of these 65 or more nests, 25 will be designated as controls each year, leaving the remainder to be used for any experiments or detailed observations planned at that site. In these control nests, the chicks will be measured and weighed at least three times during their development to allow us to make inferences about the causes of variation in breeding success.

We have developed an inclusive relational database that will be the repository of data collected by participants in the Golondrinas network. These data are available to all members of the collective, eventually through a remote-access database query system. Components of the database include tables for all banding and recapture data ('Encounters'), morphological data from adults and nestlings ('Morphology'), exact spatial location of all nest boxes ('Boxes'), a major set of data concerning reproductive attempts ('Nests'), as well as more specialized data, for example, on the fate of individual nestlings ('Chicks').

The remainder of this document lays out, in considerable detail, each datum that must be recorded, definitions and operational criteria for assigning codes. It is clearly very important that all of us in the collective use these same variable names and coding criteria. Should situations arise that require additional variables and/or new codes, it is essential that participants communicate such needs to Noah Hamm before sending data with such a coding variant. We can then work with the participant to make necessary adjustments to the standard criteria and communicate these changes to all participants.

Five Key Sets of Data:

Data that each Golondrinas participant will be expected to obtain, each season, can be organized into five groups or tables.

Nests The core data relating to each nesting attempt, the identity of breeders, the timing of laying, and basic information on reproductive success.
Boxes Spatial location information about all nesting boxes erected on the site.
Encounters Data on each captured and banded individual, including recaptures and all nestlings that are banded.
Morphology Measurements of body size.
Chicks Detailed data on the growth and fate of individual nestlings. These data will be obtained on all control nests (25 nests minimum), but not necessarily on all nests at a site

Generally, the data detailed for the first four tables will be gathered on all boxes at a site, each season. Additional data on nestling growth and fate will be obtained from all 'control' nests, each season. We envision that for many of the Research Initiatives, these same data will form the core of information used to answer the questions of interest, with the likely addition of a few specific new variables, and often with various experimental manipulation.

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