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Markov Chain Estimation of Avian Seasonal Fecundity
ETTERSON, M. A., R. S. BENNETT, E. L. KERSHNER, AND J. W. WALK. Markov Chain Estimation of Avian Seasonal Fecundity. ECOLOGICAL APPLICATIONS. Ecological Society of America, Ithaca, NY, 19(3):622-630, (2009).
To explore the consequences of modeling decisions on inference about avian seasonal fecundity we generalize previous Markov chain (MC) models of avian nest success to formulate two different MC models of avian seasonal fecundity that represent two different ways to model renesting decisions and breeding cessation. We parameterize both Markov chains (regular and absorbing) for two species (eastern meadowlark, Sturnella magna, and dickcissel, Spiza americana) and compare the results using mean squared error of the estimated number of successful broods per breeding female. We also provide formulae for estimating the expected variation in female breeding success.