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Publication Date

1994

Keywords

American mink; Coots--Effect of predation on; Predation (Biology)

Abstract

American Coot (Fulica americana) nest success, defined as at least one chick hatching, frequently exceeds 90% (Fredrickson et al. 1977), indicating success in avoiding nest predation during incubation. However, predation of juvenile coots may be an important factor in coot reproduction. Many anecdotal reports of predation on coots by mink (Mustela vison) exist (for example, Bailey 1926, Bennett 1938, Low 1945, Errington 1967, Arnold and Fritzell 1989). Studies of waterfowl predation (Sowls 1955, Sargeant et al. 1973) and diets of predators (Eberhardt 1973, Arnold and Fritzell 1987) report significant predation of coots by mink. Eberhardt and Sargeant (1977) estimated 52% of the maximum coot chick production in a marsh during one breeding season was depredated by a single mink family. In that study, maximum coot chick production was estimated by counting adult coots and assuming a nine-egg clutch for each pair of adults. Lacking, however, are reports of actual coot abundance relative to the numbers of coots depredated by mink.

During the course of monitoring coot reproduction at a restored prairie wetland in 1991, we located an active mink den and analyzed prey remains and scats deposited during the coot breeding season. Here we report levels of mink predation on coots in relation to coot abundance.

First Page

22

Last Page

23

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