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Fall and winter distribution patterns of canvasbacks (Aythya valisineria) staging on the upper Mississippi River near LaCrosse, Wisconsin (navigational Pools 7 and 8) and Keokuk, Iowa (Pool 19) were studied during 1973-77. Sightings and recoveries obtained from 1,488 color-marked males during 1973-75 and 3,789 banded males and females during 1973-77 suggested 2 principal migration corridors: 1 extending eastward from Pools 7 and 8 to the eastern Great Lakes and southeast to the Mid-Atlantic Region and another southward from Pools 7 and 8 to the lower Mississippi Valley, Gulf Coast, and east Texas regions. These discrete populations stage concurrently on Pools 7 and 8 during the fall, but winter in different areas of the Atlantic, Mississippi, and Central flyways. Populations staging on Pool 19 were not discrete from those staging on Pools 7 and 8. A continual turnover of birds passing through these staging areas was indicated. Canvasbacks wintering in the Mississippi and Central flyways were widely dispersed among a variety of habitats, whereas canvasbacks wintering in the Atlantic Flyway were concentrated in a few traditional habitats. Canvasbacks exhibited strong fidelity to wintering areas. Distribution patterns and population attributes of canvasbacks during fall and winter may be explained by the predictability of natural foods and their ability to exploit these foods.
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Migration and winter distributions of canvasbacks staging on the Upper Mississippi River