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An experimental soft-release of oil-spill rehabilitated American coots (Fulica americana): I. Lingering effects on survival, condition and behavior.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  15092974     Owner:  NLM     Status:  PubMed-not-MEDLINE    
In spring 1995, we studied survival, condition and behavior of 37 oiled/rehabilitated (OR) American coots (Fulica americana) (RHB) and compared them to 38 wild-caught, non-oiled and non-rehabilitated coots (REF). All coots were wing-clipped to prevent long-range dispersal, mixed equally and randomly and soft-released into two fenced marshes. Twenty RHB+20 REF coots were subjected to handling and sampling four times during the 4-month study and the remainder were left undisturbed. The study ended before any coots dispersed following remige regrowth. Overall survival was significantly lower for RHB coots, regardless of the way survival was viewed (four Chi 2 tests varied between p<0.045 and p<0.006). Mortality was 2.1 times higher in RHB coots: 51% mortality in RHB coots and 24% in REF coots (4 months total). RHB coots began the experiment 9% lighter in mean body condition indices (BCI=a standardization that corrected for different-sized birds) than REF coots, but REF coots also needed a period of adjustment to captivity. BCIs then varied (p<0.02) similarly among both groups throughout the experiment. Initially, RHB coots lost more weight in comparison to REF coots (although RHB coots fed more), but those RHB coots that did survive recovered to REF-comparable BCIs after about 6 weeks: both higher and equivalent at the beginning of moult and then both equivalent but lower through the moulting period. Long-term RHB coot and REF coot survivors both had significant (p<0.001) positive correlations between their initial and ending body weights. A similar relationship was also suggested for the non-surviving REF coots, but could not be tested for statistical significance. In contrast to all other groups, however, non-surviving RHB coots failed to show any relationship between their initial and ending body weights (p>0.10), indicating that non-surviving RHB coots were unable to gain or maintain body condition for about 2-3 months following their oiling/rehabilitation experience. Throughout the experiment, RHB coots preened more on water and on land, bathed more, slept less during the day, and exhibited feeding and drinking behaviors more frequently or of greater duration than REF coots (all statistical tests with Bonferroni-corrected p<0.05).
D W Anderson; S H Newman; P R Kelly; S K Herzog; K P Lewis
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987)     Volume:  107     ISSN:  0269-7491     ISO Abbreviation:  Environ. Pollut.     Publication Date:  2000 Mar 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2004-04-19     Completed Date:  2004-05-10     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8804476     Medline TA:  Environ Pollut     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  285-94     Citation Subset:  -    
Department of Wildlife, Fish, & Conservation Biology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.
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