Master's Theses

Date of Award

Spring 1987

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biology

Advisor

Charles A. Ely

Abstract

During late spring and summer 1985 and the spring/summer of 1986, observations of territorial selection by males, courtship displays, and the nesting cycle were made at the Mosteller heronry, Sedgwick County, Kansas. Earliest spring arrival in the vicinity of the heronry was 29 March 1985 and 28 March 1986 and territorial selection began the first week of April 1986. Most copulations occurred during the morning hours and both sexes participated in nest construction. Eggs were normally laid at 2-day intervals with incubation commencing after the first egg was laid. The incubation period was 27 days (3 nests). Mean clutch size was 3.75 eggs (8 nests) in 1985 and 3.60 (10 nests) in 1986 and both sexes incubated the eggs. The method of feeding nestlings changed from indirect to direct by 10 days of age. The eldest two siblings frequently fought one another and dominated younger siblings. Brood reduction was observed in 3 nests. Thirteen active nests were present in 1985 (only 8 observable), whereas 25 nests were present in 1986 (all observable). Hatching success was 80% in 1985 and 81% in 1986. Fledging success in 1985 was 83% and in 1986 was 84%. Productivity (avg. #fledged/nest) of the 8 nests in 1985 was 2.5 and in 1986 from 25 nests was 2.48. Total productivity was least 28 juveniles in1985 and about 62 in 1986.

Rights

Copyright 1987 Michael W. Dwyer

Comments

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