Using large-scale data analysis to assess life history and behavioural traits: the case of the reintroduced White stork Ciconia ciconia population in the Netherlands
Animal Biodiversity and Conservation, 27:1, 387–402 (2004)
The White stork Ciconia ciconia has been the object of several successful reintroduction programmes in the last decades. As a consequence, populations have been monitored over large spatial scales. Despite these intense efforts, very few reliable estimates of life history traits are available for this species. Such general knowledge however constitutes a prerequisite for investigating the consequences of conservation measures. Using the large–scale and long–term ringing and resighting data set of White storks in the Netherlands, we investigated the variation of survival and resighting rates with age, time and previous individual resighting history, and in a second step supplementary feeding, using capture–recapture models. Providing food did not seem to affect survival directly, but may have an indirect effect via the alteration of migratory behaviour. Large–scale population monitoring is important in obtaining precise and reliable estimates of life history traits and assessing the consequences of conservation measures on these traits, which will prove useful for managers to take adequate measures in future conservation strategies.