Post-hatch brood movements to high-quality foraging sites are common in precocial birds but may entail costs for young. We assessed effects of overland movements of broods between the nesting and rearing areas in Greater Snow Geese (Chen caerulescens atlantica) breeding on Bylot Island, Nunavut, Canada, to determine whether these movements affected gosling survival and growth. We monitored 51 radiomarked females over five years to quantify movement distance, movement duration, and gosling survival. Gosling growth was compared over four years using a sample of web-tagged broods recaptured shortly before fledging among adults that (1) nested and reared their young in a dense colony, (2) left the colony and moved ≈30 km to reach the main brood-rearing area, or (3) nested and reared their young in the main brood-rearing area. Brood movements by radio-marked birds were highly variable (2.6-52.5 km, depending on rearing areas used) and fairly rapid (≤6 days after hatch for 72% of the females). Gosling survival was not related to distance moved between nesting and brood-rearing areas. However, gosling growth was influenced by areas used and whether or not they had to move to reach their brood-rearing area. Geese nesting at the main brood-rearing area generally reared heavier and larger goslings than those that moved ≈30 km from the main nesting colony to rear their brood at the main brood-rearing area. On the other hand, goslings leaving the nesting colony after hatch were heavier and larger than those that stayed there throughout brood rearing in one of two years. Although brood movements allow goslings access to high-quality habitats, they entail some costs. Thus, minimizing such movements through nest-site selection should provide a selective advantage by allowing goslings to maximize their growth.
Croissance et Survie des Oisons en Relation avec les Déplacements des Familles chez Chen caerulescens atlantica