February 20, 2014
The widespread loss of forest to sugarcane fields on the island of Mauritius has forced kestrels living there to survive by speeding up their life histories, according to a report. By getting an earlier start, the birds are managing to have just as many offspring, even though they die sooner. Those changes to the kestrels' life history are apparently driven entirely by their early life experiences, the researchers say. The researchers analyzed 23 years of longitudinal data on the Mauritius kestrel to find that females born in territories affected by habitat change shifted investment in reproduction to earlier in life at the expense of late life performance.