Tuesday, July 16, 2013

more polygyny

It has been discovered that there is another male engaging in polygyny here this year. He has one chick and a mate on one nest, and three chicks and another mate on the other. Unfortunately one of the nests is on very private property and I do not have permission to view the nest from a close enough distance to read bands. I can see from a distance how many chicks and if the male is present. Only... one person has close access so I have to rely on the reports I receive. I can watch one of the nests however and the male is rarely there...the nest with three chicks. I do wonder why this has occurred considering the number of extra males I have seen visiting other nests. There is no shortage of males! In this case the male on one of these nests did not return, and the other case also involves a female whose mate did not return AND her nest was removed from its former site so she had to move also. Perhaps these behaviors are also related to the very odd, delayed beginning of breeding season this year. With so many lakes frozen when the birds first returned, many birds did not stay on their territories until a food source was available nearby. Many returns were delayed also...so perhaps the confluence of unusual circumstances led to this massive game of musical nests, where some males managed to end up with two mates and two territories. I am hoping for happy endings. It will be interesting to see what happens next year also. Sometimes when a male claims a territory and has bred successfully there, it's hard to get him to give it up. I have seen several males defend multiple territories ...a former nest site and the current nest site. I know this all sounds like a soap opera with its twists and turns. Hope you followed the storyline! Stay tuned!

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