We used cameras and artificial eggs to identify nest predators of dusky Canada goose Branta canadensis occidentalis nests during 1997-2000. Cameras were set up at 195 occupied goose nests and 60 artificial nests. We placed wooden eggs and domestic goose eggs that were emptied and then filled with wax or foam in an additional 263 natural goose nests to identify predators from marks in the artificial eggs. All techniques had limitations, but each correctly identified predators and estimated their relative importance. Nests with cameras had higher rates of abandonment than natural nests, especially during laying. Abandonment rates were reduced by deploying artificial eggs late in laying and reducing time at nests. Predation rates for nests with cameras were slightly lower than for nests without cameras. Wax-filled artificial eggs caused mortality of embryos in natural nests, but were better for identifying predator marks at artificial nests. Use of foam-filled artificial eggs in natural nests was the most cost effective means of monitoring nest predation. ?? Wildlife Biology (2006).
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Techniques for identifying predators of goose nests