Juvenile survival and dispersal rates are important demographic parameters in predicting the viability of avian populations, but estimates are seldom available because mortality is usually confounded with permanent natal dispersal in analyses of live-encounter data. We used the Barker model for combined captures, recoveries, and resightings to estimate juvenile survival in fledgling Snowy Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) for the 6.5-to-10.5-month period between fledging at 28 days and 1 April the following year, on the central California coast, for a 16-year period, 1984-1999. By using a large body of year-round sighting data from throughout the species' Pacific-coast range, we estimated true survival and quantified natal dispersal rates and distances. Juvenile survival estimates varied annually between 0.283 ± 0.028 (mean ± SE) and 0.575 ± 0.061 with no trend over the study, and paralleled higher adult survival in our most parsimonious models. In comparison, annual survival of banded chicks from hatching to fledging at age 28 days was 0.285–0.483 (x̄ = 0.382 ± 0.014 SE) for those 16 years. Males were more likely to disperse from Monterey Bay for winter and females were more likely to disperse for breeding. Dispersal distances to breeding sites were usually within 10 km of natal sites (64%) and seldom >50 km (16%). The present study provides the first estimate of true survival for a juvenile shorebird and new information on survival and dispersal rates that will be useful for modeling Snowy Plover population viability. Studies of local winter residents, focused on predator pressure and weather conditions, could further advance our understanding of factors determining Snowy Plover survival.
Supervivencia y Dispersión Natal de Juveniles de Charadrius alexandrinus en la Costa Central de California