Annual survival and site fidelity of Stellar's Eiders molting along the Alaska Peninsula

Journal of Wildlife Management
By: , and 



Populations of Steller's eiders (Polysticta stelleri) molting and wintering along the Alaska Peninsula have declined since the 1960's. We captured and marked a large sample of Steller's eiders molting in 2 lagoons along the Alaska Peninsula between 1975-97. We used mark-recapture analysis techniques to estimate annual survival and movement probabilities within and among lagoons for male and female eiders. Estimates of annual survival (±SE) were 0.899 ± 0.032 for females and 0.765 ± 0.044 for males. Both sexes showed high rates of fidelity to specific molting locations (>95%) within lagoons; yet we found no evidence that annual probability of survival differed among groups molting in different locations either within or among lagoons. We found weak evidence that annual survival decreased between the periods 1975-81 and 1991-97. The lower survival of males compared to females is unusual for waterfowl and may result in a female-biased sex ratio. We conclude that a decrease in adult survival may have initiated the long-term population decline. Further, a shortage of males may be limiting reproductive potential.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Annual survival and site fidelity of Stellar's Eiders molting along the Alaska Peninsula
Series title Journal of Wildlife Management
DOI 10.2307/3802998
Volume 64
Issue 1
Year Published 2000
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description 8 p.
First page 261
Last page 268
Country United States
State Alaska
Other Geospatial Alaska Peninsula
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