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For the past 25 years estimation of mortality rates for waterfowl has been based almost entirely on the composite dynamic life table. We examined the specific assumptions for this method and derived a valid goodness of fit test. We performed this test on 45 data sets representing a cross section of banded sampled for various waterfowl species, geographic areas, banding periods, and age/sex classes. We found that: (1) the composite dynamic method was rejected (P <0.001) in 37 of the 45 data sets (in fact, 29 were rejected at P <0.00001) and (2) recovery and harvest rates are year-specific (a critical violation of the necessary assumptions). We conclude that the restrictive assumptions required for the composite dynamic...
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Abstract has not been submitted
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The effects of winter recreation—specifically snowmobiling—on wildlife in Yellowstone National Park (YNP) have become high-profile management issues. The road grooming needed to support oversnow travel in YNP is also being examined for its effects on bison (Bison bison) ecology. Data were collected from November 1997 through May 1998 and from December 1998 through May 1999 on the effects of road grooming on bison in Madison–Gibbon–Firehole (MGF) area of YNP Peak bison numbers occurred during late March—early April and were strongly correlated with the snow water equivalent measurements in the Hayden Valley area (1997–1998: r* = 0.62, p:0.001: 1998–1999: r2 = 0.64, P-0.001). Data from an infrared trail monitor on...
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The American woodcock (Scolopax minor) population has declined since the late 1960s across its range and is now considered a species of special concern. Research on woodcock habitat use during migration and migratory routes through the Central Flyway has been limited. We assessed woodcock phenology, estimated density, and nocturnal habitat use in fields on public lands in the lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley portion of Arkansas during November and December of 2010 and 2011. We used all-terrain vehicles to survey woodcock along transects in 67 fields of 8 field types. We analyzed data using hierarchical distance sampling. We detected woodcock from the first week in November through the third week in December but...
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The status of the double-crested cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) in western North America was last evaluated during 1987–2003. In the interim, concern has grown over the potential impact of predation by double-crested cormorants on juvenile salmonids (Oncorhynchusspp.), particularly in the Columbia Basin and along the Pacific coast where some salmonids are listed for protection under the United States Endangered Species Act. Recent re-evaluations of double-crested cormorant management at the local, flyway, and federal level warrant further examination of the current population size and trends in western North America. We collected colony size data for the western population (British Columbia, Washington, Oregon,...
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Because artificial nests can facilitate controlled experiments of nest success, we used them to assess whether human visitation, nest density, vegetation structure, and proximity to habitat edge could affect depredation of duck nests on Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska. More (P < 0.01) nests in a plot visited daily (100%) were depredated than those in plots visited at intervals of 7 (40%), 14 (35%), or 28 days (45%). More (P < 0.01) nests were depredated in a plot with 10 nests/ha (95%) than nests in a plot of a lower density (2/ha; 40%). Vegetation height, vegetation density, distance to a wetland, distance to forest edge, or distance to the nearest ecotone did not differ (P > 0.05) between depredated...
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Occupancy models are widely used to analyze presence–absence data for a variety of taxa while accounting for observation error (MacKenzie et al. 2002, 2006; Tyre et al. 2003; Royle and Dorazio 2008). Hayes and Monfils (2015) question their use for analyzing avian point count data based on purported violations of model assumptions incurred by avian mobility. Animal mobility is an important consideration, not just for occupancy models, but for a variety of population and habitat models (Boyce 2006, Royle et al. 2009, Manning and Goldberg 2010, Dormann et al. 2013, Renner et al. 2015). Nevertheless, we believe the ultimate conclusions of Hayes and Monfils are shortsighted mainly due to a narrow interpretation of occupancy....
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Reward bands ($10) were placed on 2,122 hatching-year mallards (Anas platyrhynchos), and an additional 11,490 received conventional bands (controls) to estimate band reporting rates. An analysis of band recoveries indicated that the reporting rate was dependent primarily upon three factors: (1) the distance banded birds were recovered from the banding site, (2) band collecting activities of conservation agencies (usually near banding sites), and ( 3) the intensity of banding effort in the region (frequency of banded birds in the population of the region). Reporting rates were uniformly depressed near the banding sites, but they showed an east-west cline at distances greater than 80 km from the banding sites. The...
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Duckling survival in wood duck (Aix sponsa) and mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) broods was estimated from data obtained from 71 radio-marked brood hens on a study area in north-central Minnesota. Radio-marked hens produced 30 broods during the study, and 41 hens already leading broods were captured and radio-marked. Production estimates based on brood size counts were inflated by about 38 percent for wood ducks and 30 percent for mallards if total-brood losses were not taken into account. Mortality during the first 2 weeks of life was most severe, accounting for 86 percent of total recorded mortality in wood ducks and 70 percent in mallards. Rearing success was about 41 percent for wood ducks and 44 percent for mallards....
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The correlation between number of May ponds in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) of North America and size of the continental mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) breeding population the following spring weakened from the 1950s to the 1980s, suggesting possible changes in suitability of prairie ponds for meeting reproductive needs. We studied wetland use and preferences of radioequipped female mallards by reproductive stage (1988-90) in eastern North Dakota and westcentral Minnesota and evaluated effect of land use on pair distribution in eastern North Dakota (1987-91). May pond density varied among years and study areas, with changes in number of temporary and seasonal ponds accounting for 93% of variation in total ponds....
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Ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) have been the focus of conservation efforts since their dramatic population decline attributed to dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane and related chemicals in the 1960s. Several recent studies of ospreys nesting in the United States have indicated improved reproduction. However, the density of breeding ospreys varies greatly among locations, with some areas seemingly habitable but not occupied. Because of concerns about pollution in the highly industrialized portions of the Delaware River and Bay, USA, we evaluated contaminant exposure and productivity in ospreys nesting on the Delaware River and Bay in 2002. We characterized habitat in the coastal zone of Delaware, USA, and the area around...
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We studied the spring use of ungulate carcasses by grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) on ungulate winter ranges in Yellowstone National Park. We observed carcasses and bear tracks on survey routes that were travelled biweekly during spring of 1985-90 in the Firehole-Gibbon winter range and spring of 1987-90 in the Northern winter range. The probability that grizzly bears used a carcass was positively related to elevation and was lower within 400 m of a road, or within 5 km of a major recreational development compared to elsewhere. Carcass use peaked in April, coincident with peak ungulate deaths. Grizzly bears also were more likely to use carcasses in the Firehole-Gibbon compared to Northern Range study area....
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Food use by mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) wintering on the Platte River in south central Nebraska was determined from mid-December to early March 1978-80. Mallards foraged in river channels, irrigation drainage canals, and agricultural areas. Plant matter formed 97% of the diet (dry weight) and diets did not vary between sexes (P > 0.05). Waste corn was the principal food consumed and formed 46 and 62% of the diets of males and females, respectively. Milo, common duckweed (Lemna minor), smartweed (Polygonum spp.), and barnyardgrass (Echinochloa muricata) composed most of the remaining plant matter ingested. Mallards fed intensively in riparian wetland habitat to obtain invertebrates, but few were consumed because...
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Duck nesting was studied during 1971 in north-central South Dakota under four conditions: in idle, five or six year old fields of domestic grass-legume mixtures in an area where predators including the red fox (Vulpes fulva), raccoon (Procyon lotor), striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis), and badger (Taxidea taxus) were (1) reduced and (2) not reduced. Nesting was also studied in tracts of active agricultural land (primarily croplands and pastures) where predators were (3) reduced, and (4) not reduced. Under condition (1), 260 nests were found on 0.87 km2 (299 nests/km2), eggs hatched in 92 percent of the nests and production was 22.0 ducklings/hectare. Under condition (2), 187 nests were found on 2.22 km2 (84 nests/km2),...
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Introduced brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) are a widespread pest of conservation and agriculture in New Zealand, and considerable effort has been expended controlling populations to low densities. A national protocol for monitoring the abundance of possums, termed trap catch index (TCI), was adopted in 1996. The TCI requires that lines of leghold traps set at 20-m spacing are randomly located in a management area. The traps are set for 3 fine nights and checked daily, and possums are killed and traps reset. The TCI is the mean percentage of trap nights that possums were caught, corrected for sprung traps and nontarget captures, with trap line as the sampling unit. We studied I forest and I farmland area...