• Feeding rates, parental investment, and brood reduction in Caspian terns (Sterna caspia)

      Quinn, James Scott.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1980-07-09)
      Fresh egg-weights and feeding rates to chicks were related to chick survival as one means of quantifying apportionment of parental investment wi thin broods of Caspian Terns (SterDI casRla) at a colony in Georgian Bay. Lake Huron, during 1978 and 1979. Ftrst-laid eggs from 2-egg clutches were Significantly heavier and usually hatched one to three days earlier than second-laid eggs in both years of the study. In both years, first-hatched chicks were larger and generally better fed than second-hatched siblings. The disparity between feedIng rates of first- and second-hatched ehicks was greater in 1979. Brood feeding I rates correlated positively with the percentage of food fed to the least-fed sibUng through the period of B-chick ages zero to 10 days in 1978. I suggest that after this age period, parental control over whlcb cbick was fed diminished. In 1978, 10 of 16 secondhatched chicks were fed more than their older siblings during their first 5 days. 'lb.is is interpreted as a parental response to reduce the competitive advantage of the larger first-hatched chicks. Most chick losses were apparently caused by starvation or preda. tion. In 1979, seeorvl-hatched chick disappearance (due to predation) was -related to low feeding rates, whereas first-hatched chick disappearance was related to low fresh egg-weights.. First-hatched chicks survived better than second-hatched chicks both years, and more pairs fledged two chicks in 1978. Maximum estimated feeding rates at the nest and fledging ages suggested that food was more avatlable in 1978 than in 1979. In 1979, second eggs apparently functioned as "insurance" eggs. When the first-laid egg falled to hatch, or the first-hatched chick died, the second-hatched chick was often successfully fledged. When first-hatched chicks survived, the second-hatched chick usually starved or was preyed upon, reducing the brood to one chick. Parental investment patterns favored first-hatched chicks. Brood reduction, when employed, discouraged total nest failure, however, under appropriate conditions, brood reduction was avoided and full broods (or two chicks) were fledged.
    • Selected aspects of common tern reproductive biology

      Courtney, Peter Allan.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1977-07-09)
      Several factors influencing reproductive success were investigated at a Common Tern colony at Port Colborne, Ontario in 1976. In general three egg clutches hatched better than two egg clutches and early started clutches hatched eggs and fledged chicks better than late clutches; the fledging success of two and three egg clutches was similar. Early clutches took longer to hatch and hatched more synchronously than did late clutches. While hatching success differed with nesting substrate used fledging success' did not* No relationship was found between either incubation attentiveness and reproductive success or between incubation attentiveness and clutch size* At no time did food availability appear to be a factor limiting the successful upbringing of two chick broods. While fCf chicks (i.e. chicks hatching from the last laid eggs of three egg clutches) generally survived and grew poorly relative to their brood mates they grew best when they originated from clutches that hatched relatively asynchronously.
    • A study of selected factors influencing the reproductive performance of the common tern (Sterna hirundo) at Port Colborne, Ontario in 1973 and 1974

      Hunter, Rodger Allan.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1976-10-02)
      Several study areas were investigated at two Port Colborne terneries during the summers of 1973 and 1974 in an attempt to determine the influence of clutch size, time of clutch initiation, position in the colony, proximity to Ring-billed Gulls, vegetation and nesting substrate on the reproductive performance of the Common Tern. Hatching success and reproductive success (the number of chicks fledged per egg laid) were generally higher for 3-egg than 2-egg clutches but fledging (the number of chicks fledged per egg hatched) success was usually independant of clutch size. Hatching, fledging and reproductive success declined as a function of time of clutch initiation. Mean clutch sizes also generally declined as a function of time. Nests located in the center of the colony exhibited higher fledging success than those on the periphery. Rock-based clutches had a lower hatching success than clutches initiated on sand or dried vegetation. Reproductive performance did not appear to be related to proximity to Ring-billed Gulls or vegetation within the study area.