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Nesting ecology of tundra swans on the coastal Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska

January 1, 2002

Nesting ecology of Tundra Swans (Cygnus columbianus columbianus) was studies the Kashunuk River near Old Chevak (61A?26a??N, 165A?27a??W), on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta of western Alaska from 1988-2000. Annual variation in snow-melt chronology, nesting phenology, nesting density, clutch size and nest success was examined. The same area (approximately 23 kmA?) was searched each year and nests were found as early as possible in the laying period. Laying initiation dates ranged from 1-27 May and hatch dates from 12 June a?? 4 July among pairs and years of study. The peak arrival of Tundra Swans and the phenology of nest initiation and hatch were highly correlated with the progression of ice and snow melt in spring. Nest density averaged 0.71 kmA? and 89% of nesting pairs hatched at least one egg. Incubation period ranged from 26 to 33 days with a median of 30 days. Clutch size varied significantly among years, driven by a low mean value of 3.4 eggs in 1999. Clutch sizes were generally larger than found in previous investigations on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, and nearly one egg larger than reported for clutches from Alaskaa??s North Slope (=70A?N). There was no indication of reduced clutch size in years of late spring snow melt, although nesting density tended to be lower.

Publication Year 2002
Title Nesting ecology of tundra swans on the coastal Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska
Authors Colleen A. Babcock, A. C. Fowler, Craig R. Ely
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Waterbirds
Index ID 1013444
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Alaska Biological Science Center