In this chapter we review the techniques used to measure two important parameters of waterfowl populations, size of breeding population and recruitment. If waterfowl are to be managed toward goals defined in terms of population sizes such as those in the recently signed North American Waterfowl Management Plan (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [USFWS] and Canadian Wildlife Service [CWS] 1986), there must be some measure of population size for the various species. Waterfowl managers usually measure population size during the breeding season, although for some species and in some areas winter inventories may be used. Population size is a function of natality and mortality. Other chapters in this volume deal in detail with the biology of those processes. This chapter discusses procedural aspects of measurement and reviews some of the operational systems that have been used to estimate population size and recruitment, especially in North America.
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Breeding population inventories and measures of recruitment