1. Patterns of temporary emigration (associated with non-breeding) are important components of variation in individual quality. Permanent emigration from the natal area has important implications for both individual fitness and local population dynamics. 2. We estimated both permanent and temporary emigration of black brent geese (Branta bernicla nigricans Lawrence) from the Tutakoke River colony, using observations of marked brent geese on breeding and wintering areas, and recoveries of ringed individuals by hunters. We used the likelihood developed by Lindberg, Kendall, Hines & Anderson 2001 (Combining band recovery data and Pollock's robust design to model temporary and permanent emigration. Biometrics, 57, 273-281) to assess hypotheses and estimate parameters. 3. Temporary emigration (the converse of breeding) varied among age classes up to age 5, and differed between individuals that bred in the previous years vs. those that did not. Consistent with the hypothesis of variation in individual quality, individuals with a higher probability of breeding in one year also had a higher probability of breeding the next year. 4. Natal fidelity of females ranged from 0.70 ?? 0.07-0.96 ?? 0.18 and averaged 0.83. In contrast to Lindberg et al. (1998), we did not detect a relationship between fidelity and local population density. Natal fidelity was negatively correlated with first-year survival, suggesting that competition among individuals of the same age for breeding territories influenced dispersal. Once females nested at the Tutakoke River, colony breeding fidelity was 1.0. 5. Our analyses show substantial variation in individual quality associated with fitness, which other analyses suggest is strongly influenced by early environment. Our analyses also suggest substantial interchange among breeding colonies of brent geese, as first shown by Lindberg et al. (1998).
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Fidelity and breeding probability related to population density and individual quality in black brent geese Branta bernicla nigricans