Nesting ecology of Arctic loons

The Wilson Bulletin
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Abstract

Arctic Loons were studied on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska, from the time of their arrival in May to their departure in September, in 1974 and 1975. Pairs arrived on breeding ponds as soon as sufficient meltwater was available to allow their take-off and landing. Loons apparently do not initiate nests immediately after their arrival, even when nest-sites are available. Delayed egg-laying may be dependent on a period of yolk formation. Delaying yolk formation until after arrival on nest ponds is an adaptation by loons to the variable time suitable habitat becomes available for nesting. Predation of eggs by Glaucous Gulls, Long-tailed and Parasitic jaegers and foxes varied in relation to the location of the nest-site, and the availability of alternate prey. Hatching success was the lowest recorded for Arctic Loons (5%) in 1974, when eggs of both loons and Cackling Geese were taken in large numbers by predators. Hatching success increased to 32% in 1975 when an abundance of tundra voles was observed. No loon eggs hatched after the hatching of the Cackling Goose eggs when this alternate prey was no longer available. Nests destroyed by foxes were predominantly along shorelines, and those by gulls and jaegers were predominantly on islands. Nest-site selection by Arctic Loons may reflect an adaptive response to varying selective pressures by their predators.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Nesting ecology of Arctic loons
Series title The Wilson Bulletin
Volume 91
Issue 4
Year Published 1979
Language English
Publisher Wilson Ornithological Society
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center
Description 10 p.
First page 608
Last page 617
Country United States
State Alaska
Other Geospatial Clarence Rhode National Wildlife Range, Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta
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