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16 July 2014 Apparent survival of adult Burrowing Owls that breed in Canada is influenced by weather during migration and on their wintering grounds
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Abstract

Understanding factors that influence the survival of endangered migratory species is critical for making informed management decisions, yet this understanding relies on long-term recapture datasets for species that are, by definition, rare. Using 3 geographically widespread (Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Manitoba, Canada) and long-term (6–15 yr) mark–recapture datasets, we quantified spatial and temporal variation in apparent annual survival and recapture probabilities of Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia), an endangered species that breeds in Canada. We then examined how large-scale weather patterns during migration (storms) and on the wintering and breeding grounds (precipitation), in addition to prey irruptions on the breeding grounds, influenced apparent survival of Burrowing Owls. Female Burrowing Owls had lower apparent survival than males in all 3 study areas. Storms during fall migration and above-average precipitation on the wintering grounds were associated with reduced apparent survival of Burrowing Owls in the longest-running study area, Saskatchewan; in Alberta and Manitoba, there were few correlations between apparent survival of Burrowing Owls and weather or prey irruptions. Increases in stochastic events such as storms during migration or precipitation on the wintering grounds could have adverse consequences on the already small Burrowing Owl population in Canada. Local management actions that focus solely on improving adult apparent survival within Canada are likely insufficient for mitigating susceptibility of adults to inclement weather or other factors outside the breeding season, underscoring the need for management of this species across multiple jurisdictions within North America.

© 2014 Cooper Ornithological Society.
Troy I. Wellicome, Ryan J. Fisher, Ray G. Poulin, L. Danielle Todd, Erin M. Bayne, D. T. Tyler Flockhart, Josef K. Schmutz, Ken De Smet, and Paul C. James "Apparent survival of adult Burrowing Owls that breed in Canada is influenced by weather during migration and on their wintering grounds," The Condor 116(3), 446-458, (16 July 2014). https://doi.org/10.1650/CONDOR-13-161.1
Received: 17 December 2013; Accepted: 1 May 2014; Published: 16 July 2014
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