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Survival of Greater White-Fronted Geese: Effects of Year, Season, Sex, and Body Condition

Joel A. Schmutz and Craig R. Ely
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 63, No. 4 (Oct., 1999), pp. 1239-1249
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3802841
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3802841
Page Count: 11
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Survival of Greater White-Fronted Geese: Effects of Year, Season, Sex, and Body Condition
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Abstract

Information regarding the magnitude and variation in survival rates is necessary for understanding the causes of large changes in population size. We examined survival of greater white-fronted geese (Anser albifrons frontalis) in the Pacific Flyway during 1979-82. The population declined by 75% in the decade preceding our study but was stable during our investigation. Annual survival of adults (0.749, SE = 0.045) was 7% higher than during an earlier study. We developed a simple population model which suggests that recent (1985-96) survival rates may be as much as 10% higher in adults than the 1979-82 rate, which corresponds to population increases observed since 1985. Survival of adult females varied seasonally; monthly survival during a period of winter when no hunting or migration occurred was higher (0.986, SE = 0.015) than monthly survival at other times (0.964, SE = 0.006). Survival of adult males varied among years and with a general seasonal trend inverse to that for females. An index of body condition was positively related to survival of adult females in fall and spring, but not for adult males or immature geese. Monthly survival of immatures was lower during their first hunting season (0.886, SE = 0.026) than during all subsequent seasons (0.963, SE = 0.007). Annual survival of immatures beginning 1 October, immediately before the hunting season, was 0.471. Corresponding variations in survival rates, population numbers, and hunting regulations suggest that hunting may have influenced survival in this population of greater white-fronted geese.

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