We banded northern pintails (Anas acuta; n = 13,645) at a single site on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta (YKD), Alaska, USA, from 1990 to 2001. We used recaptures from our site in combination with hunter recoveries to model annual survival, recovery rates, and fidelity to our capture location. Most recoveries (>90%) occurred in the Pacific Flyway with 64% reported from California's Central Valley. Our top candidate models allowed survival to vary by sex but not by age or year. Estimated annual survival was 77.6% (95% CI: 73.9-81.0%) for males and 60.2% (95% CI: 53.2-67.0%) for females. Reporting rates varied by age, sex, and year; estimates for adult males exceeded those for adult females by 3.5 times. Within sexes, reporting rates of hatch-year pintails exceeded those of adults. Estimated recovery rates were considerably lower than those estimated during the 1950s-1970s for winter banded pintails (Hestbeck 1993b), but there were no differences in survival rates. This suggests that changes in harvest regulations may not have influenced annual survival in this population. The propensity of banded pintails to return to our capture site (fidelity rate) varied between sexes and was positively correlated with water conditions in prairie Canada. Our estimates of fidelity rates varied from 77.4% to 87.2% for males and 89.8% to 94.3% for females. Our fidelity estimates suggest that some level of subpopulation structuring may exist for northern pintails. Additionally, our estimates of fidelity support previous observations of northern pintails overflying poor wetland habitat conditions on the Canadian prairies.
Additional publication details
Annual survival and site fidelity of northern pintails banded on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska