Changes in factors influencing mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) recruitment in the Mississippi Flyway from 1980-2011
Wetekamm, Kale Frederick
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Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) are the most widely-studied and harvested waterfowl species in North America. Heitmeyer and Fredrickson (1981) were among the first to demonstrate a connection between wintering habitat and mallard recruitment the following year. We used an information theoretic approach to evaluate the influence of winter wetland conditions, Wetland Reserve Program (WRP) easements and rice agriculture in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley, as well as breeding population size and wetland conditions on mallard recruitment rates (immature:adult females). We were unable to confirm that wintering habitat is more important to recruitment than breeding habitat. However, habitat provided through the WRP had the greatest influence on recruitment of the winter variables considered. Of the models considered, WRP easements, breeding habitat and population size, most influenced recruitment rates (wi = 0.82). Our results highlight the potential importance of quality managed moist-soil wetlands in both breeding and wintering habitats to favorable mallard recruitment rates.