Compared with their Atlantic counterparts, Black-legged Kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla) in North Pacific colonies are notably unproductive. A large colony on Middleton Island, Alaska, has in most years since 1981 seen complete breeding failure and the population has declined by half. We compared parent-offspring behaviors in this colony during two years that differed in overall breeding success. Potential indicators of food stress included parental attendance at the nest, foraging trip lengths, chick feeding and begging rates, and sibling aggression. Whereas chick feeding and begging rates were strongly correlated with overall breeding performance, patterns of time allocation by adults (nest attendance and foraging trips) were not. Contrasts between years and comparisons with data from other colonies in and outside Alaska point to food shortage as the likely cause of recurrent breeding failure on Middleton.
|Title||Behavioral ecology of black-legged kittiwakes during chick rearing in a failing colony|
|Authors||Bay D. Roberts, Scott A. Hatch|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||The Condor|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Alaska Science Center; Alaska Science Center Biology MFEB|