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1 May 2013 Dabbling Ducks Increase Nest Defense After Partial Clutch Loss
Kevin M. Ringelman, Monica J. Stupaczuk
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Predation is the primary source of mortality of dabbling duck nests, so a key aspect of parental investment is defending the nest from predators. The hen's presence on the nest is widely considered to be a good measure of nest defense; an incubating female camouflages the nest and may physically deter nest predators. Parental-investment theory suggests that investment should increase with the reproductive benefits expected from the current clutch of eggs. We used nest-temperature loggers to study how the rhythms of waterfowl incubation changed after the nest was partially destroyed by a predator. Contrary to the expected-benefits hypothesis, we found that hens significantly increased their investment after partial clutch loss: they took fewer recesses from incubation per day and extended their incubation by more than 200 min after a partial depredation. We suggest that when predators pose little risk to the incubating adult, those hens unable or unwilling to abandon a nest after partial clutch loss will increase parental investment to obtain at least some reproductive benefits.

©2013 by The Cooper Ornithological Society. All rights reserved. Please direct all requests for permission to photocopy or reproduce article content through the University of California Press's Rights and Permissions website,
Kevin M. Ringelman and Monica J. Stupaczuk "Dabbling Ducks Increase Nest Defense After Partial Clutch Loss," The Condor 115(2), 290-297, (1 May 2013).
Received: 28 May 2012; Accepted: 1 October 2012; Published: 1 May 2013

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