We correlated temporal changes in social groupings of canvasbacks (Aythya valisineria) breeding near Minnedosa, Manitoba, with an independent estimate of hen success during 1974-80. Roadside counts of pairs, lone males, and flocked males were made along transects at 5-day intervals, normalized to percentages to allow comparisons among years, and plotted to obtain measurements of selected areas between and under the curves. An estimate of hen success was regressed on these selected graph areas each year to derive a predictive equation. Graph areas (social indices) determined from temporal changes in the proportion of pairs, lone males, and flocked males correlated (ri?? = 0.69-0.93) with hen success. This technique avoids the need for pair counts, nest searches, and brood counts and provides managers with a useful index to evaluate local management practices and to predict yearly production in time for setting hunting regulations.
Additional publication details
Use of social indices to predict reproductive success in canvasbacks