Factors influencing predation associated with visits to artificial goose nests

Journal of Field Ornithology
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Artificial goose nests were used to determine what factors might increase predation after visits to nests of Cackling Canada Geese (Branta canadensis minima). We tested whether leaving the nest uncovered, marking the nest location with a flag, or placing the nest on an island or peninsula would increase the rate of predation. Predators destroyed significantly more of the nests with eggs exposed to view (61%) than of the nests with eggs covered with goose down (35%) (P < 0.05). However, the rate of predation was only slightly higher among nests located on peninsulas than on islands and equal proportions of flagged and unflagged nests were destroyed. We also determined that investigators attracted predators to the study area and caused an increase in predation at uncovered nests immediately after the visit. Covering the eggs with down essentially negated the effect of attracting predators when visiting the nest. Among the 46 nests destroyed, 78% were destroyed by birds and 22% by mammals. Results of our study suggested that visibility of exposed eggs rather than nest markers provided important cues to avian predators and that islands probably provided some refuge from mammalian predators. Investigators can take steps to minimize their impact on nesting success and should incorporate a measure of that impact in their studies.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Factors influencing predation associated with visits to artificial goose nests
Series title Journal of Field Ornithology
Volume 59
Issue 3
Year Published 1988
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center, Alaska Science Center Biology WTEB
Description 9 p.
First page 215
Last page 223
Country United States
State Alaska
Other Geospatial Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta
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