We assessed carry-over effects from winter location on timing of nest initiation and clutch size of Black Brant (Branta bernicla nigricans) using observations of individually marked brant breeding at the Tutakoke River colony in Alaska, and wintering along a latitudinal gradient at three areas on the Pacific coast of Baja California: northernmost Bahia San Quintin (BSQ), Laguna Ojo de Liebre (LOL), and southernmost Laguna San Ignacio (LSI). Black Brant initiated nests according to a north—south trend in winter location, although year was a stronger predictor of initiation date than was wintering site. Female Black Brant that wintered at BSQ initiated nests 2.2 days earlier than females from LSI. Conversely, Black Brant showed only a weak south—north trend in clutch size; individuals from LSI laid slightly larger clutches than individuals from BSQ, probably because a smaller proportion of only high-quality females from the southernmost wintering area in Baja California were able to attain the nutritional condition necessary to breed. These results indicate that winter location can influence individual reproductive performance and, potentially, limit population growth of southern segments of the wintering Black Brant population.
Additional publication details
Carry-over effects of winter location contribute to variation in timing of nest initiation and clutch size in black brant (Branta bernicla nigricans)