Natural Resources, School of
Does Predation Influence the Seasonal and Diel Timing of Moose Calving in Central Ontario, Canada?
Date of this Version
April 15, 2016
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Birth synchrony is well documented among ungulates and is hypothesised to maximize neonate survival, either by minimizing the risk of predation through predator swamping or by synchronising birthing with increased seasonal food availability. We used encapsulated vaginal implant transmitters to locate and capture neonatal moose calves and document the seasonal and diel timing of parturition in two adjacent study areas with different predation pressure in central Ontario, Canada. We tested the hypothesis that predation promotes earlier and more synchronous birth of moose calves. Across both areas, proportionately more births occurred during the afternoon and fewer than expected occurred overnight. Mean date of calving averaged 1.5 days earlier and calving was also more synchronous in the study area with heavier predation pressure, despite average green-up date and peak Normalized Difference Vegetation Index date occurring 2 days later in this study area than in the area receiving lighter predation pressure. We encourage analysis of data on timing of parturition from additional study areas experiencing varying degrees of predation pressure to better clarify the influence of predation in driving seasonal and diel timing of parturition in temperate ungulates
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2016 Patterson et al