Survival during the pre-fledging period rather than during post-fledging drives variation in local recruitment of an endangered migratory shorebird, the Southern Dunlin Calidris alpina schinzii
Journal of Ornithology
The declines in wet-grassland breeding shorebird populations are considered to mainly result from changes in reproduction. While there is plenty of information on nest survival, little reliable information exists on local recruitment due to confounding effects of permanent emigration. Furthermore, few studies have been able to study the roles of pre- and post-fledging survival on local recruitment. Therefore, it is unclear whether local recruitment of young reflects conditions at the breeding
... s at the breeding sites or at non-breeding sites. We studied an isolated population of the endangered Southern Dunlin (Calidris alpina schinzii) breeding on the west coast of Sweden to examine (1) brood survival (probability of at least one chick fledging) by following broods fates and (2) local recruitment (survival from hatching to 1 year old) using capture-recapture data. We then examined how much of the annual variation in juvenile survival was explained by variation in brood survival. Brood survival was on average 0.58 (annual range 0.08–1.00) and explained 64% of variation in annual local recruitment. Still local recruitment was rather high for a shorebird (0.17, SE = 0.023), which reflects the isolated nature of the study population. Our results suggest that local recruitment seems to be mainly constrained by chick survival during the pre-fledging period. Therefore, management of breeding sites leading to increased brood survival, e.g., reducing predation on chicks, should have strong impacts on local recruitment and local population growth.