Gannon, Dustin G.; Hadley, Adam S.; Frey, Sarah J.K. 2021. Pairing automated mark–recapture and social network models to explore the effects of landscape configuration on hummingbird foraging patterns. Biology Letters. 17: 20210188. doi:https://doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2021.0188
Landscape changes can alter pollinator movement and foraging patterns which can in turn influence the demographic processes of plant populations. We leveraged social network models and four fixed arrays of five hummingbird feeders equipped with radio frequency identification (RFID) data loggers to study rufous hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus) foraging patterns in a heterogeneous landscape. Using a space-for-time approach, we asked whether forest encroachment on alpine meadows could restrict hummingbird foraging movements and impede resource discovery. We fit social network models to data on 2221 movements between feeders made by 29 hummingbirds. Movements were made primarily by females, likely due to male territoriality and early migration dates. Distance was the driving factor in determining the rate of movements among feeders. The posterior mean effects of forest landscape variables (local canopy cover and intervening forest cover) were negative, but with considerable uncertainty. Finally, we found strong reciprocity in hummingbird movements, indicative of frequent out and back movements between resources. Together, these findings suggest that reciprocal movements by female hummingbirds could help maintain bidirectional gene flow among nearby subpopulations of ornithophilous plants; however, if the distance among meadows increases with further forest encroachment, this may limit foraging among progressively isolated meadows.