Population dynamics of mallards breeding in eastern Washington

Journal of Wildlife Management
By: , and 



Variation in regional population trends for mallards breeding in the western United States indicates that additional research into factors that influence demographics could contribute to management and understanding the population demographics of mallards across North America. We estimated breeding incidence and adult female, nest, and brood survival in eastern Washington in 2006 and 2007 by monitoring female mallards with radio telemetry and tested how those parameters were influenced by study year (2006 vs. 2007), landscape type (agricultural vs. natural), and age (second year [SY] vs. after second year [ASY]). We also investigated the effects of female body condition and capture date on breeding incidence, and nest initiation date and hatch date on nest and brood survival, respectively. We included population parameters in a stage-based demographic model and conducted a perturbation analysis to identify which vital rates were most influential on population growth rate (λ). Adult female survival was best modeled with a constant weekly survival rate (0.994, SE = 0.003). Breeding incidence differed between years and was higher for birds in better body condition. Nest survival was higher for ASY females (0.276, SE = 0.118) than SY females (0.066, SE = 0.052), and higher on publicly managed lands (0.383, SE = 0.212) than agricultural (0.114, SE = 0.058) landscapes. Brood survival was best modeled with a constant rate for the 7-week monitoring period (0.50, SE = 0.155). The single variable having the greatest influence on λ was non-breeding season survival, but the combination of parameters from the breeding grounds explained a greater percent of the variance in λ. Mallard population growth rate was most sensitive to changes in non-breeding survival, nest success, brood survival, and breeding incidence. Future management decisions should focus on activities that improve these vital rates if managers want to increase the production of mallards in eastern Washington.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Population dynamics of mallards breeding in eastern Washington
Series title Journal of Wildlife Management
DOI 10.1002/jwmg.1030
Volume 80
Issue 3
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher Wildlife Society
Publisher location Menasha, WI
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Seattle
Description 10 p.
First page 500
Last page 509
Country United States
State Washington
Other Geospatial Columbia Basin Irrigation Project
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