Events during the non-breeding season may affect the body condition of migratory birds and influence performance during the following breeding season. Migratory birds nesting in the Arctic often rely on endogenous nutrients for reproductive efforts, and are thus potentially subject to such carry-over effects. We tested whether king eider (Somateria spectabilis) arrival time and body mass upon arrival at breeding grounds in northern Alaska were affected by their choice of a winter region in the Bering Sea. We captured birds shortly after arrival on breeding grounds in early June 2002-2006 at two sites in northern Alaska and determined the region in which individuals wintered using satellite telemetry or stable isotope ratios of head feathers. We used generalized linear models to assess whether winter region explained variation in arrival body mass among individuals by accounting for sex, site, annual variation, and the date a bird was captured. We found no support for our hypothesis that either arrival time or arrival body mass of king eiders differed among winter regions. We conclude that wintering in different regions in the Bering Sea is unlikely to have reproductive consequences for king eiders in our study areas. ?? US Government 2009.
Additional Publication Details
Does winter region affect spring arrival time and body mass of king eiders in northern Alaska?