Egg predation is the primary cause of nest failure for tundra nesting birds. Taverner’s Cackling Geese (Branta hutchinsii taverneri) breeding on the North Slope of Alaska have increased approximately 5-fold over the last 25 years and are now one of the most encountered waterbird species breeding at our study site on the coastal plain of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This rapid population growth may offer a new food resource for egg predators, impacting predator populations, which in turn could have cascading effects for other tundra nesting bird species, many of which are declining. To determine how the population growth of geese may affect the nest-predator community, and to establish a baseline of predators as the area is impacted by climate change and development, we used digital time-lapse cameras to record predation events at Cackling Goose nests. We determined fate for 52 nests in 2017, 2019, and 2021, of which 20 were depredated. The most frequent predator differed each year. Red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) were responsible for 89% of depredations in 2017 and wolverines (Gulo gulo) for 67% in 2019, and those species only depredated nests in those single years. In contrast, Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) were responsible for nest failure in all years, but did not exceed 40% of total depredations in any year. Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) were an unexpected egg predator, depredating 2 nests. Our results were notably different than work on other Arctic goose species, where Arctic foxes were the primary predator. The inter-annual variability of egg predators at this Arctic Refuge study site provides insights into complex predator–prey interactions on the Arctic Coastal Plain.

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