Egg hatchability in birds is a critical component of individual reproductive success and is associated with eggshell integrity. Contaminants, such as DDT, can influence eggshell thickness and are known to cause population declines. Moisture content and temperature can also impact eggshell thickness, but the influence of environmental conditions on the natural variation in eggshell thickness in wild populations is not well understood. Our goal was to investigate the relationship between environmental conditions and eggshell thickness of Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana) and Ash-throated Flycatcher (Myiarchus cinerascens) eggs from 1997 to 2013 on the Pajarito Plateau in northern New Mexico. We tested whether nesting elevation, temperature, precipitation, and drought conditions influenced eggshell thickness in these two secondary cavity-nesting species, while also looking at eggshell thickness over time. Over the 16 years, nonviable or abandoned eggs were collected, and the analyzed dataset included 330 bluebird eggs and 113 flycatcher eggs. There was a significant increase in eggshell thickness over time for both species. Flycatcher eggshells were correlated with higher temperatures, whereas bluebird eggshells were influenced by an interaction between temperature and drought severity. In drought conditions, bluebird eggshell thickness was positively correlated with temperature, whereas in wet conditions, eggshell thickness was negatively correlated with temperature. Thicker eggshells in drought conditions may be a way of reducing water loss from eggs, which occurs faster at higher temperatures. In the southwestern United States, frequent and severe drought, higher temperatures, and decreases in precipitation are all expected to continue. The structure of eggs will be important to consider regarding how species may or may not adapt to novel conditions or persist in new environments.

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