The dusky Canada goose (Branta canadensis occidentalis) population has been in long-term decline, likely due to reduced breeding productivity, but gosling survival of this population had not been examined. We studied gosling survival in broods of radiomarked adult females on the western Copper River Delta, Alaska, USA, during 1997-1999 and 2001-2003. Survival estimates for dusky Canada goose goslings to 45 days (x- = 0.32) were below estimates from most previous studies of geese. Daily survival of goslings increased with age and decreased with date of hatch. Precipitation during the first 3 days post-hatch was negatively related to gosling survival and this effect increased with date. Annual estimates of gosling survival were positively correlated with annual estimates of nest success, suggesting overlap in factors affecting nest and gosling survival. Nest success probably also directly affected gosling survival, because survival decreased with hatch date and more broods hatched from renests during years with low nest success. Gosling survival appears to play an important role in limiting current productivity of this population. Management directed at increasing nest success would likely also improve gosling survival. We recommend additional research directed at examining sources of gosling mortality and the link between nest success and gosling survival.
Additional publication details
Survival of dusky Canada goose goslings in relation to weather and annual nest success