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Declining winter survival and fitness implications associated with latitudinal distribution in Norwegian Greylag Geese Anser anser

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The Norwegian Greylag Goose Anser anser population has been increasing steadily over the past few decades, causing increasing nuisance in terms of agricultural crop damage. This, in combination with the importance of Greylags as a hunting target, has called for demographic estimates for the population to assist in management decisions. To this end, we analysed long-term mark–recapture data using Cormack–Jolly-Seber models embedded in program MARK to obtain survival estimates for the population. No sex-specific difference, or age effect on survival after juveniles had completed their first migration (3¬†months of age), was evident. Mean first-year survival was reported as 0.485 and annual survival of older birds as 0.700. On a monthly basis, survival in Greylags during summer and winter was very similar over the study period. A significant linear decline in winter survival from 0.909 to 0.807 was, however, apparent during the study period. Over the second half of the study (1994–2002), summer survival was about 3% lower than in the first half (1986–94) but no linear relationship was evident. We found a significant inverse relationship between Greylag survival during summer and latitudinal distribution in Norway. A similar relationship was evident between survival and annual bag numbers. The changes in adult survival observed in this study are likely to have had a substantial impact on the growth rate of the Norwegian Greylag population.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-01-01

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