Life history theory assumes a trade-off between reproduction and survival. Investigations of this trade-off in birds have focused primarily on costs of rearing altricial young, because such costs are assumed to be low in species with precocial young. We experimentally manipulated nest success to test for a trade-off between (1) raising offspring for up to 1 yr after successfully nesting and (2) survival in female Ross's Geese (Chen rossii), a species with self-feeding, precocial young. We used multistate capture–resighting analysis that also incorporated recoveries of dead birds for inference about survival. We detected a general negative effect of successful nesting on survival, whereby point estimates of annual survival for successfully nesting females were consistently lower than those for failed nesters. Failed nesters had a greater proportion of mortality attributable to hunting, judging from their higher rates of reported mortality by hunters compared to successful nesters; thus, a cost of breeding associated with successful nesting likely resulted from natural mortality factors during incubation and brood rearing, and not from exploitation by humans.
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