Identifier

etd-10292007-104319

Degree

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Renewable Natural Resources

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Mallard (Anas platyrhynhcos) populations in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley (LMAV) historically averaged 1.6 million and represented the largest concentrations of wintering mallards in North America. Effective management of this wintering population requires current information on use of habitats, movements, and survival of female mallards. I used radio-telemetry techniques to assess these parameters during winters 2004-2005 and 2005-2006. Radio-marked female mallards used forested wetland habitats extensively during diurnal and nocturnal sampling periods. Proportional use of habitats varied inconsistently among time periods defined by hunting seasons and winters. Proportional use of forested wetlands ranged from 0.464 to 0.816 and from 0.280 to 0.764 during diurnal and nocturnal sampling periods, respectively. Movement distances (± SE) between diurnal and nocturnal locations averaged 2524 ± 150.1 meters and varied inconsistently by date among habitat types. The product-limit survival rate of radio-marked female mallards was 0.542 for the 140 day tracking season. Interval survival rates varied among time periods defined by hunting seasons and ranged from 0.721 to 0.981. Cause-specific mortality rates (± SE) for the tracking period were 0.177 ± 0.041 and 0.342 ± 0.119 for hunting and non-hunting sources of mortality, respectively. Continued restoration and establishment of forested wetland habitats should benefit wintering mallards in the LMAV. Finally, waterfowl managers may want to consider management actions to improve survival of female mallards in the LMAV.

Date

2007

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Alan D. Afton

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