Many species of seabirds exhibit delayed maturity and do not return to the natal colony to breed for several years after fledging. Capture-recapture studies are frequently conducted at such breeding colonies and often include marking of young birds. However, because of the absence of these birds from the natal colony during the first few years after banding, the data do not fit neatly into existing capture-recapture models. Here we present a method for estimating prebreeding survival rate from capture-recapture studies on species exhibiting such patterns of delayed maturation. We illustrate the method using data from a capture-recapture study of Roseate Terns (Sterna dougallii ) on Falkner Island, Connecticut. The method appears to work well and emphasizes the potential to tailor capture-recapture models to specific field situations.
Additional publication details
Capture-recapture estimation of prebreeding survival rate for birds exhibiting delayed maturation