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A Study of the Mortality of the Starling Based on Ringing Recoveries

J. C. Coulson
Journal of Animal Ecology
Vol. 29, No. 2 (Nov., 1960), pp. 251-271
DOI: 10.2307/2203
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2203
Page Count: 21
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
A Study of the Mortality of the Starling Based on Ringing Recoveries
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Abstract

1. The mortality-rate of the starling (Sturnus vulgaris) has been studied by using some 7000 recoveries of ringed individuals. 2. Estimates of the average annual adult mortality differ with the cause of recovery. The recovery of starlings which had been shot gave a mortality-rate some 9% greater than that determined from other causes. It is suggested that this difference reflects a higher mortality-rate in areas where starlings are shot rather than that young birds are more liable to be shot. 3. The mortality-rate of the starling in Great Britain is estimated as 52.8+-1.0%. This value does not differ significantly in different regions of Great Britain, nor for foreign starlings which have wintered in Great Britain. 4. The annual mortality-rate of the starling does not change after the first 1 August of life, but first-year birds experience a greater mortality in their first autumn and winter, which is compensated by a probable lower mortality during the following spring. 5. The sex-ratio of the starling changes over a short period at the end of the birds' first year to give a marked predominance of males. This can only be explained by a male mortality of 39% and a female mortality of 70% in the first year of life from 1 August. This differential mortality probably arises through more first-year females than males breeding in their first year. 6. The number of recoveries reaches a peak during the breeding season, mainly owing to the capture of starlings by cats. It is likely that the act of breeding increases the risk of death to starlings since they need to spend more time on the ground collecting food for their young.

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