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Clutch size, reproductive success, and organochlorine contaminants in Atlantic coast black-crowned night-herons

The Auk

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Abstract

In 1979, we gathered clutch-size and reproductive-success data on Black-crowned Night-Herons (Nycticorax nycticorax) nesting in three New England and two North Carolina colonies. In 1975, we gathered similar data from one of the New England and one of the North Carolina colonies. Latitudinal differences in clutch initiation were not evident. Mean clutch size was larger in the New England than in the North Carolina colonies. Mean clutch size was smaller in late nests from one New England colony studied in both years and another New England colony studied in 1979; seasonal trends in clutch size for other colonies were not found. In 1979, nest success was greater in two New England colonies than in one North Carolina colony. Within-season differences in nest success occurred but were inconsistent among colonies. In the four instances where statistical comparisons could be made, larger clutches were more successful than smaller ones in two colonies; large and small clutches had similar success in two other colonies. One egg was collected from each of several nests in each colony in 1979 for organochlorine contaminant analysis, and the fate of the remaining eggs was recorded. Concentrations of DDE and PCBs did not differ with clutch size; concentrations of PCBs were lower, however, in eggs laid late in the season. Although the data suggest an effect of DDE on hatching success in the northern more contaminated colonies, the impact of environmental contaminants on overall reproductive success appears to be minimal.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Clutch size, reproductive success, and organochlorine contaminants in Atlantic coast black-crowned night-herons
Series title:
The Auk
Volume:
100
Issue:
3
Year Published:
1983
Language:
English
Publisher:
American Ornithological Society
Contributing office(s):
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description:
12 p.
First page:
699
Last page:
710