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Canada goose nest survival at rural wetlands in north-central Iowa

December 1, 2016

The last comprehensive nest survival study of the breeding giant Canada goose (Branta canadensis maxima) population in Iowa, USA, was conducted >30 years ago during a period of population recovery, during which available nesting habitat consisted primarily of artificial nest structures. Currently, Iowa's resident goose population is stable and nests in a variety of habitats. We analyzed the effects of available habitat on nest survival and how nest survival rates compared with those of the expanding goose population studied previously to better understand how to maintain a sustainable Canada goose population in Iowa. We documented Canada goose nest survival at rural wetland sites in north-central Iowa. We monitored 121 nests in 2013 and 149 nests in 2014 at 5 Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) with various nesting habitats, including islands, muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) houses, and elevated nest structures. We estimated daily nest-survival rate using the nest survival model in Program MARK. Survival was influenced by year, site, stage, presence of a camera, nest age, and an interaction between nest age and stage. Nest success rates for the 28-day incubation period by site and year combination ranged from 0.10 to 0.84. Nest survival was greatest at sites with nest structures (β = 17.34). Nest survival was negatively affected by lowered water levels at Rice Lake WMA (2013 β = −0.77, nest age β = −0.07). Timing of water-level drawdowns for shallow lake restorations may influence nest survival rates.

Publication Year 2016
Title Canada goose nest survival at rural wetlands in north-central Iowa
DOI 10.1002/wsb.716
Authors Brenna N. Ness, Robert W. Klaver
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Wildlife Society Bulletin
Index ID 70187247
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Coop Res Unit Leetown