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Providing evidence to improve practice

Action: Foster eggs or chicks of gannets and boobies with wild conspecifics Bird Conservation

Key messages

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A small controlled study in Australia found that Australasian gannet chicks Morus serrator were lighter, and hatching and fledging success lower in nests which had an additional egg or chick added. However, overall productivity was (non-significantly) higher in experimental nests.

 

Supporting evidence from individual studies

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A small controlled study at a marine reserve in Queensland, Australia, in the breeding seasons of 1997-8 and 1998-9 (Bunce 2001) found that Australasian gannet chicks Morus serrator were significantly lighter, and hatching and fledging success significantly lower in nests where a second egg or chick was added to the nest (‘experimental nests’), compared to control nests (maximum weight of approximately 2500 g for experimental nests in 1997-8, n = 4 vs. approximately 3250 g for controls, n = 8; data not provided for 1998-9; 1997-9: hatching success of35% for experimental nests vs. 70% for controls; fledging success of 63% for experimental nests vs. 90% for control). Over both years, the number of chicks fledged by experimental nests was higher than control nests, but this was not significant (1.3 chicks/nest for experimental nests, n = 8 vs. 0.9 chicks/nest for controls, n = 8). This study also investigated the impact of supplementary feeding on gannet chicks (see ‘Provide supplementary food to increase reproductive success’).

 

Referenced papers

Please cite as:

Williams, D.R., Child, M.F., Dicks, L.V., Ockendon, N., Pople, R.G., Showler, D.A., Walsh, J.C., zu Ermgassen, E.K.H.J. & Sutherland, W.J. (2018) Bird Conservation. Pages 95-244 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, N. Ockendon, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2018. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.