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Breeding-Season Survival of Mallard Females in the Prairie Pothole Region of Canada

James H. Devries, John J. Citta, Mark S. Lindberg, David W. Howerter and Michael G. Anderson
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 67, No. 3 (Jul., 2003), pp. 551-563
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3802713
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3802713
Page Count: 13
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Breeding-Season Survival of Mallard Females in the Prairie Pothole Region of Canada
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Abstract

As part of the Prairie Habitat Joint Venture (PHJV) Habitat Assessment Project, we radiomarked and tracked daily 2,249 female mallard ducks (Ans platyrhynchos) in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) of Canada. We conducted our study at 19 different 54- to 78-km2 sites for 1 year per site from 1993 to 1998. We estimated female survival probability during the 90-day period following arrival on the breeding area and employed information-theoretic approaches to select among competing models that described factors affecting survival probability. We investigated the relationship between female survival and 3 periods of the nesting season, female age (yearling vs. older), upland habitat treatments, longitude, and habitat variables. Our model estimates of female survival probability ranged between 0.62 (SE = 0.028) and 0.84 (SE = 0.018) and averaged 0.76 (SE = 0.004) for the 90-day period. The best approximating model indicated that female survival was (1) lowest when most females were nesting, and (2) depended on longitude and percent wetland habitat such that survival was lowest at western sites with low wetland densities. Management efforts to reduce wetland loss, especially in western regions of the Canadian PPR, may positively influence female survival. Upland habitat restorations designed to improve nest survival may not have a concurrent impact on female survival unless a significant portion of the nesting population is affected.

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