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1 June 2020 To Hide or Not to Hide: Nesting Habitat Dynamics in a Threatened Gull
Jan O. Bustnes, Bård-Jørgen Bårdsen, Morten Helberg
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Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Larus fuscus fuscus) were studied over 10 breeding seasons (2005-2014) to assess factors influencing nesting distribution among 7 subcolonies with two distinct habitats (open-rocky or vegetated) in an archipelago on the Norwegian Coast. The study was divided into an early (2005-2008) and late period (2009-2014), depending on a predatory event in 2008, where one subcolony suffered a complete reproductive failure. In the early period, three open-rocky subcolonies in the periphery appeared to contain birds of higher quality (assessed by stability in number of pairs among years, reproductive timing, clutch size, and chick production) compared to a large vegetated subcolony. In the late period, the proportion of the population nesting in the large vegetated subcolony increased, as did the quality of individuals, a result of birds from the depredated subcolony settling there. In subcolonies not subject to complete reproductive failure, philopatry to natal subcolonies was high among juveniles (∼80%), and the rate of among-year change between subcolonies by adult breeders was as low as 0-3%, although the rate of change increased up to ∼15% following years of poor reproductive success. However, there was no evidence that either habitat consistently offered better nest protection and reproductive success than the other.

Jan O. Bustnes, Bård-Jørgen Bårdsen, and Morten Helberg "To Hide or Not to Hide: Nesting Habitat Dynamics in a Threatened Gull," Waterbirds 43(2), 163-173, (1 June 2020).
Received: 13 November 2019; Accepted: 29 May 2020; Published: 1 June 2020
habitat selection
individual quality
Larus fuscus fucsus
Lesser Black-backed Gull
nest concealment
reproductive success.
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