Roseate Tern (Sterna dougallii) nests were monitored at Falkner Island, Connecticut, USA between 1998 and 2002. A total of 586 chicks were sexed and their growth measured during the first three days. These data were used to derive growth parameters and predict survival to fledging with high confidence. In contrast to a previous study in Massachusetts, we found no sex-ratio bias at hatching in any single year or in all years combined, nor was there a bias at fledging in all years combined, or in any single year. This difference is interesting because both colonies exhibit a female-biased sex ratio at breeding. After controlling for other factors, there was no difference in early growth or survival between male and female chicks, consistent with our previous studies and with the hypothesis that differences in growth and survival between males and females observed in other species are due to sexual size dimorphism.
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Sex ratio and early growth patterns of roseate tern chicks during five breeding seasons at Falkner Island, Connecticut, USA