In waterfowl, offspring survival and the effects of extrinsic (i.e. weather, hatching date) and intrinsic (i.e. physical and nutritional traits of individual females and ducklings, brood sizes) factors on it are poorly understood. In 2000 and 2001, we estimated duckling and brood survival of White-winged Scoters (Melanitta fusca deglandi) at Redberry Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada, to 30 days of age to examine relationships between duckling survival and (1) hatch date, (2) initial brood size at hatch, (3) duckling size and body condition at hatch, (4) offspring sex, (5) maternal female size and body condition at hatch, and (6) weather. We estimated survival with Cormack-Jolly-Seber models, in program MARK, from observations of individually marked adult females (n = 94) and ducklings (n = 664). Most mortality (i.e. 0.80 and 0.95 for each year, respectively) occurred within six days of hatch in both years. Duckling survival probability decreased with advancing hatch date; increased with larger initial brood sizes; was higher for larger, better-conditioned ducklings; and increased with favorable weather. Brood survival decreased with advancing hatch date, increased with larger initial brood sizes, and increased with favorable weather. For 2000 and 2001, our models predict survival probabilities of ducklings (0.0061 and 0.0027, respectively) and broods (0.015 and 0.00048, respectively) that are lower than any previously reported. We suspect that intense gull (Larus spp.) predation shortly after hatch had the largest influence on duckling survival, though results also underscore the significance of intrinsic factors.
Effets des Facteurs Intrinsèques et Extrinsèques sur la Survie les Jeunes de Melanitta fusca deglandi