Clutch replacement and between-clutch mate fidelity of Pacific Golden-Plovers Pluvialis fulva breeding near Nome, Alaska
157 – 160
1 December 08
Oscar W. Johnson, Roger H. Goodwill, Roger S. Gold, Patricia M. Johnson
Oscar W. Johnson
Department of Ecology, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717, USA.
We marked both members in 12 pairs of Pacific Golden-Plovers Pluvialis fulva on subarctic nesting grounds in western Alaska, and collected their clutches during incubation. After clutch loss, six pairs plus the male in a seventh pair remained on their nesting territories; the other five pairs apparently deserted their territories and could not be found. Each pair that continued to occupy its territory consisted of the same partners, and at least four pairs renested with the females laying replacement clutches. Two replacement clutches were complete (four eggs), and two contained three eggs. The three-egg clutches were found near the end of our fieldwork, and we were unable to determine whether a fourth egg was laid. Females began replacement laying about one week after clutch loss even when incubation of the preceding clutch was nearly complete. Among the five pairs that went missing, four had clutches at early stages of incubation (three to five days) in late June – a time when most other clutches in our study group were close to hatching. Disparity such as this likely indicates that these recently produced clutches were replacements laid in response to natural losses from predation and other factors. By collecting their replacement clutches relatively late in the nesting season, we apparently caused the birds to desert. Our findings suggest that Pacific Golden-Plovers renest commonly on subarctic breeding grounds.