Journal of Avian Biology
Anser caerulescens caerulescens, interspecific foraging association, nesting behaviour, predation, Ursus arctos, Ursus maritimus
The presence of foraging bears in Arctic breeding bird colonies has been increasingly reported in the literature, and these may constitute disturbance events which cause incubating birds to leave their nest. Avian predators may associate with bears during such events, likely to capitalize on unattended nests in the presence of bears. Here, we estimated changes in daily nest attendance of lesser snow geese Anser caerulescens caerulescens in the presence of foraging bears, and estimated the association between foraging bears and avian predators. We predicted decreased nest attendance by geese on days with bears, and close associations between avian predators and bears. We monitored snow goose nests with cameras from 2013 to 2018 to assess nest attendance behaviours on days when bears were in the colony compared to control days without bears. When bears were present in colonies, we estimated the probability of avian predator occurrence compared to control periods. When controlling for day of incubation and camera placement types, we found no significant effects of bears on daily nest attendance behaviours of snow geese (n = 85). We found a significantly higher probability of observing avian predators when bears were present (0.72) compared to control periods without bears (0.11). We show that snow geese do not alter daily nest attendance in the presence of foraging bears, and suggest this is due to the presence of avian predators.
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Barnas, Andrew F.; Darby, Brian J.; Iles, David T.; Koons, David N.; Rockwell, Robert F.; Semeniuk, Christina A.D.; and Ellis-Felege, Susan N.. (2022). Bear presence attracts avian predators but does not impact lesser snow goose daily nest attendance. Journal of Avian Biology, 2022 (3).