We studied the relationship between family associations of immature Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) and their reproductive success as 2-year-olds and survival to three years. A higher proportion of immature Canada Geese associated with family members survived to breeding age and were more successful in reproducing in their first potential year of sexual maturity (age 2) than were geese that were not in family associations. These results illustrate the benefits of prolonged parental care outweighing costs to parents and the probable influence of family association on future successful breeding. Many reproductive failures of vertebrates with complex social organization may be related to experience during maturation.
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Vol. 102 • No. 4