Survival rates of nine adult female Northern Pintails (Anas acuta) that became flightless after being radio-marked in the Sacramento Valley, California in August 1987-1989 were estimated. Seven of the radio-marked pintails molted in the Sacramento Valley, a nontraditional molting region, and two flew 280 km north to the Klamath Basin to molt. Molting marshes were dominated by emergent vegetation in both locations. Two ducks, while flightless in the Sacramento Valley, were killed by predators. Molting pintails remained sedentary (did not fly) for an average of 36 d, and the daily survival rate during this period was 0.9934. The resulting sedentary-period survival rate was 0.79. Primary feather 9 on two captive ducks grew an average of 4.2 mm per day. Mean body mass of molting ducks that died was lower than that for molting ducks that survived (P < 0.10). The number of pintails molting on Sacramento Valley refuges is probably <200.
Additional publication details
Survival and other observations of adult female northern pintails molting in California