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1 June 2009 Reproductive Success and Causes of Nest Failures for Mississippi Kites: A Sink Population in Eastern Arkansas?
Troy J. Bader, James C. Bednarz
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In the White River National Wildlife Refuge, we located and monitored 39 Mississippi Kite (Ictinia mississippiensis) nests during the 2004 and 2005 breeding seasons to examine reproductive success and causes of nesting failures. Nest failures were documented using five video recording systems. All kite nests not monitored with a video recording system were observed every 3 or 4 d. The apparent reproductive success during this study was 28.2% (n  =  39 nests). Using the Mayfield estimator, we determined the nest success to be 36.3% over 1226 nest-exposure days with a daily nest survival of 0.9837. We recorded seven nest failures and eight probable predation attempts. Predation was the most common cause of nest failures of video observed nests (57%), with western rat snakes (Elaphe obsoleta) being the most common predator of kite eggs and nestlings. Other observed nest failures included nest abandonment, a chick falling out of a nest, and an infertile egg. Reproductive success reported in this study was the second lowest (28%) of all Mississippi Kite studies. This low reproductive success rate is likely not adequate to support a viable population in the White River National Wildlife Refuge, indicating this may currently be a sink population.

Troy J. Bader and James C. Bednarz "Reproductive Success and Causes of Nest Failures for Mississippi Kites: A Sink Population in Eastern Arkansas?," Wetlands 29(2), 598-606, (1 June 2009).
Received: 3 March 2008; Accepted: 1 January 2009; Published: 1 June 2009

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