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Factors Affecting Hatching Success of Densely Nesting Canada Geese

E. Ewaschuk and D. A. Boag
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 36, No. 4 (Oct., 1972), pp. 1097-1106
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3799238
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3799238
Page Count: 10
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Factors Affecting Hatching Success of Densely Nesting Canada Geese
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Abstract

Factors affecting the hatching success of densely nesting Canada geese (Branta canadensis) were studied from 1967 to 1969 on a 16-acre island in Dowling Lake, Alberta. In the last year, intensive observations of behavior were included. Densities varied from 8.0 to 10.7 to 9.2 nests per acre in 1967, 1968, and 1969, respectively. Nest success varied over the same period from 60 to 27 to 69 percent. Desertion was the major factor involved in loss of clutches; predation may also have been important in 1968. Small territories, large numbers of territorial and nonterritorial geese, and high densities of nesting pairs resulted in high and constant levels of agonistic behavior throughout the nest season of 1969. Pairs that were successful in hatching all or part of their clutches always won more interactions than they had lost with neighboring pairs and nonterritorial geese. For most unsuccessful pairs, this situation was reversed. The presence of the gander in the territory was the key factor involved in the outcome of interactions. The absence of the gander led to the harrassment of the goose by neighboring ganders and eventually to desertion of the nest. Both size of territory and frequency of interaction were inversely with an index of vegetation density, based on height and cover around the nest site.

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