We tested the hypotheses that mass at fledging and fledge date within the breeding season affect postfledging survival in European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). Nestlings were weighed on day 18 after hatch and tagged with individually identifiable patagial tags. Fledge date was recorded. Marked fledglings were resighted during weekly two-day intensive observation periods for 9 weeks postfledging. Post-fledging survival and sighting probabilities were estimated for each of four groups (early or late fledging by heavy or light fledging mass). Body mass was related to post-fledging survival for birds that fledged early. Results were not clear-cut for relative fledge date, although there was weak evidence that this also influenced survival. Highest survival probability estimates occurred in the EARLY-HEAVY group, while the lowest survival estimate occurred in the LATE-LIGHT group. Sighting probabilities differed significantly among groups, emphasizing the need to estimate and compare survival using models which explicitly incorporate sighting probabilities.
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Investigation of nitrogen transformations in a southern California constructed wastewater treatment wetland