Mountain Plovers (Charadrius montanus) are migratory shorebirds of conservation concern that breed on grasslands and xeric tablelands scattered along the western edge of the Great Plains. Previous research from populations breeding on lower-elevation sites in Colorado and Montana suggests nest survival increases in cooler, drier environmental conditions. However, no studies have estimated Mountain Plover nest survival on high-elevation habitats, which have distinctively different climate and nesting phenology; therefore, it is unclear if these general trends hold true for the species as a whole or are regionally specific. In this study, we monitored nests of a population of Mountain Plovers breeding at high elevation in South Park, Colorado, to study influences on daily nest survival as compared to those found in literature from lower-elevation breeding sites. In contrast to studies on lower-elevation sites where daily maximum temperatures limited nest survival, we found daily minimum temperature best predicted variation in daily nest survival in South Park; survival odds declined with decreasing temperature. These results suggest that negative effects of extreme temperatures (hot or cold) may be generalities that exist between locales but are potentially mediated through different mechanisms at varying temporal scales. Although we cannot definitively conclude from our study why minimum temperature is associated with lower nest survival, we suggest alterations in incubation behavior may be a plausible mechanism that warrants future study. Overall, our study demonstrates the importance of considering differences between weather and phenology among breeding locations when estimating nest survival effects.

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