Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 152, Supplement 2, pp 469–476 | Cite as

Spatial modeling of survival and residency and application to the Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship program

  • James F. Saracco
  • J. Andrew Royle
  • David F. DeSante
  • Beth Gardner
EURING Proceedings


Broad-scale bird-ringing programs are a core component of national and international avian monitoring and research efforts. Despite rich spatial structure in data from these programs, little attention has been paid to spatial modeling of demographic rates. Here we implemented a Bayesian analysis of a hierarchical capture–recapture model to provide spatially explicit (2° blocks) and year-specific estimates of adult apparent survival (hereafter survival) and residency probabilities for Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas, a bird species commonly captured as part of the Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) program in North America. The model was based on a transient Cormack–Jolly–Seber model. We modeled spatial dependence in survival and residency with an intrinsic conditional autoregressive model and modeled capture probability with a random block-level effect. We modeled sex-effects on survival and residency probability, as well as on two nuisance parameters, capture probability and the probability of predetermining a bird to be a resident (based on multiple within-season captures). Inclusion of sex effects in the model illustrated how missing data are easily accommodated within the modeling framework. We found little evidence of temporal variation in survival or residency. Males tended to have higher and less variable survival and residency probabilities than females. Capture probability and probability of predetermining residency were higher for males than for females. We found broad-scale spatial patterns in survival and residency. Spatial variation was higher for residency than for survival. Although the residency parameter in our model applies to the subset of the population that are newly ringed birds, clear spatial pattern and high spatial variation suggests that this parameter has important ecological relevance. Further development and application of hierarchical capture-recapture models to data from bird-ringing programs provides the opportunity to more thoroughly investigate spatial and temporal pattern in population processes and inform conservation.


Capture–recapture model Common Yellowthroat Conditional autoregressive model Geothlypis trichas Hierarchical spatial model MAPS program 



This work was supported by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, The Institute for Bird Populations (IBP), and the United States Geological Survey. C. Francis and two anonymous reviewers provided comments that improved an earlier version of the manuscript. IBP staff biologists carefully vetted the MAPS data and D. Kaschube helped prepare data for analyses. We are indebted to the hundreds of MAPS station operators, field assistants, and interns that have contributed to the MAPS program. Any use of trade, product, or firm names in this publication is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. This is IBP Contribution No. 390.


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Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • James F. Saracco
    • 1
  • J. Andrew Royle
    • 2
  • David F. DeSante
    • 1
  • Beth Gardner
    • 2
  1. 1.The Institute for Bird PopulationsPoint Reyes StationUSA
  2. 2.USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research CenterLaurelUSA

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