Aspects of Common Eider Nesting Ecology in Labrador

Chaulk, Keith and Robertson, Gregory J. and Montevecchi, William A. and Ryan, Pierre C. (2005) Aspects of Common Eider Nesting Ecology in Labrador. Arctic, 58 (1). pp. 10-15. ISSN 1923-1245

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The status, distribution, and nesting ecology of common eiders (Somateria mollissima) breeding in Labrador are not well known. This study is an initial effort to improve understanding of the nesting ecology of eiders on the Labrador coast, a zone of intergradation between the northern (S. m. borealis) and American (S. m. dresseri) subspecies of common eider. During 1998 and 1999, 187 islands were surveyed for nesting eiders at four sites (from north to south: Nain, Hopedale, Makkovik, St. Peter’s Bay) along 750 km of the coast. Nest initiation dates (calculated by candling eggs) ranged over a four- to five-week period and were positively associated with latitude: the earliest mean initiation date (5 June) was in St. Peter’s Bay in the south and the latest (27 June) at Nain in the north. Mean clutch size ranged from 3.5 to 4.2 and varied by area and year; eiders nesting in Nain had the smallest clutches. In 1999, the highest nest density (49.8 nests/ha) was observed in Nain and the lowest (3.9 nests/ha) in Makkovik. In some cases, we used boat surveys to assess eider presence and absence and found it to be a reliable method; this search technique could be beneficial to researchers working in remote locations where operational costs are high.

Item Type: Article
Item ID: 433
Keywords: Clutch size; Common eider; Labrador; Nest initiation; Nest surveys; Somateria mollissima
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Psychology
Science, Faculty of > Psychology
Date: March 2005
Date Type: Publication

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