Between closely-related, competing species, the social environment influences which individuals have access to limiting resources, like food.
Access to food dictates an individuals condition.
Little is known about how condition alters interactions between species, especially when competition mediates how females choose mates and is hypothesized to influence patterns of hybridization.
Chickadees form stable dominance hierarchies both within and between species. Older, male black-capped chickadees are the most dominant individuals.
I used a 10-year, range wide dataset to evaluate the social factors correlated with condition between closely-related, competing species of chickadee that occasionally hybridize.
All individuals are in worse condition when they overlap, independent of dominance rank. This might be one mechanism driving hybridization between chickadees.