The number of spectacled eiders nesting on two study areas near the Kashunuk River, on the central Yukon-Kuskokwim (Y-K) Delta, Alaska, declined by over 75% in the last 20 years. Nesting densities have remained low, but have not significantly declined since 1985. There has been no decrease in the reproductive effort of individual females as indicated by average clutch sizes. There has been a significant decline in the proportion of nests located on islands on one of the two study areas. Nesting success declined significantly during the 1970's. Success was not monitored in recent years, but has likely been low, based on the poor nesting success and declining numbers of cackling Canada geese and black brant nesting on the area. Nest predation by arctic foxes severely limited the productivity of cackling Canada geese, and foxes were likely the major predators of eider nests. Persistent high predation rates may lead to local extirpation in highly philopatric species such as eiders.
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Decline in a population of spectacled eiders nesting on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska