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Animal Biodiversity and Conservation. Volume 27.1 (2004) Pages: 35-46

Effects of spring conditions on breeding propensity of Greater Snow Goose females

Reed, E. T., Gauthier, G., Giroux, J.-F.





Breeding propensity, defined as the probability that a sexually mature adult will breed in a given year, is an important determinant of annual productivity. It is also one of the least known demographic parameters in vertebrates. We studied the relationship between breeding propensity and conditions on spring staging areas (a spring conservation hunt) and the breeding grounds (spring snow cover) in Greater Snow Geese (Chen caerulescens atlantica), a long distance migrant that breeds in the High Arctic. We combined information from mark–recapture, telemetry, and nest survey data to estimate breeding propensity over a 7– year period. True temporal variation in breeding propensity was considerable (mean: 0.574 [95% CI considering only process variation: 0.13 to 1.0]). Spring snow cover was negatively related to breeding propensity (bsnow=-2,05 ± 0,96 SE) and tended to be reduced in years with a spring hunt (b = -0,78 ± 0,35). Nest densities on the breeding colony and fall ratios of young:adults were good indices of annual variation in breeding propensity, with nest densities being slightly more precise. These results suggest that conditions encountered during the pre-breeding period can have a significant impact on productivity of Arctic-nesting birds


Breeding propensity, Capture-recapture, Chen caerulescens atlantica, Environmental stochasticity, Greater Snow Goose, Reproduction


Reed, E. T., Gauthier, G., Giroux, J.-F., 2004. Effects of spring conditions on breeding propensity of Greater Snow Goose females. Animal Biodiversity and Conservation, 27: 35-46, DOI:






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