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Mammalian Biology

, Volume 78, Issue 1, pp 73–77 | Cite as

Beavers (Castor canadensis) facilitate early access by Canada geese (Branta canadensis) to nesting habitat and areas of open water in Canada's boreal wetlands

  • Chantal K. Bromley
  • Glynnis A. HoodEmail author
Short Communication

Abstract

Several studies demonstrate how beavers influence waterfowl habitat availability, ultimately improving waterfowl breeding success; however, no current research links beavers to early season nesting activities of Canada geese (Branta canadensis) in northern climates. We examined how beavers facilitate early access to open water for geese at Miquelon Lake Provincial Park (MLPP), Canada. We surveyed 32 active and 39 inactive beaver ponds to examine whether beavers facilitate early access to open water. Open water occurred 10.7 days earlier at active beaver ponds (mean ice-off day = 87.54, s = 13.88) than inactive ponds (mean ice-off day = 98.19, s = 9.07), especially adjacent to main lodge entrances and winter food caches. Snowpack was on average 5.9 cm shallower at active ponds. Prior to availability of open water, Canada geese exhibited intraspecific territoriality over beaver lodges as nest sites and once water was present, preferred island lodges over bank lodges. These findings support other studies that examined island nesting as protection from terrestrial predators and highlight the importance of beavers in creating open water areas earlier in the season.

Keywords

Beaver Castor canadensis Nesting habitat Open water Waterfowl 

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Copyright information

© Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Science, Augustana FacultyUniversity of AlbertaCamroseCanada

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