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Winter Survival of Female American Black Ducks on the Atlantic Coast

Michael J. Conroy, Gary R. Costanzo and Daniel B. Stotts
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 53, No. 1 (Jan., 1989), pp. 99-109
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3801314
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3801314
Page Count: 11
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Winter Survival of Female American Black Ducks on the Atlantic Coast
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Abstract

We used radio telemetry to monitor the winter survival and cause-specific mortality of 227 female American black ducks (Anas rubripes) captured in New Jersey and Virginia, 1983-85. Mean survival rate for 19 December-15 February was 0.65. Survival from hunting and nonhunting risk was 0.84 and 0.78, respectively. Causes of nonhunting mortality included predation and emaciation (winter stress). After-hatch-year (AHY) ducks had a higher probability of survival than hatch-year (HY) ducks (0.73 vs. 0.60); most of this difference was related to survival from nonhunting risk. After-hatch-year ducks with body masses ≥ median had a higher survival probability (0.85) than AHY ducks with < median body masses (0.61) because of differential survival from hunting risk. Hatch-year ducks had lower body mass than AHY ducks, but among HY ducks body mass was not related to survival. There were no consistent patterns in survivorship in relation to mean daily temperature, although the timing of the onset of low temperatures and storms may have influenced movement patterns. Our estimated survival rates are consistent with estimates from other studies of seasonal and annual survival. It may be possible to manage habitats for population segments at high risk (HY and low body mass birds), and increase black duck survivorship.

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