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The presence of locally abundant wildlife raises questions about natural regulation and ecological consequences of overpopulation. We sought to establish precise information about population size, structure, and productivity to examine the role of natural regulation in a closed tule elk (Cervus elaphus nannodes) population at Point Reyes National Seashore, California, USA. We estimated an instantaneous exponential growth rate of 0.19 with an adjusted R2 = 0.98 during 1998, 20 years after the elk were introduced. We estimated annual survival for adult cows of nearly 0.95. Calf survival from birth through the rut ending during October-November was 0.85. Male calves exhibited higher mortality than female calves. Cow...
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Waterfowl management on breeding grounds focuses on improving nest success, but few studies have compared waterfowl nest success and factors affecting nest survival along a wetland gradient and simultaneously identified nest predators. We monitored nests (n = 195) of common pochards (Aythya ferina) in Trebon Basin Biosphere Reserve, Czech Republic, during 1999-2002. Daily nest survival rates (DSRs, logistic-exposure) declined from island (0.985, 95% confidence interval, 0.978-0.991) to overwater (0.962, 0.950-0.971) and terrestrial (0.844, 0.759-0.904) nests. The most parsimonious model for DSRs included habitat class (DSRs: island > overwater > terrestrial) and nest visibility. Nest survival was improved by reduced...
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Review of: Wild Otters, Predation and Populations. By Hans Kruuk. Oxford University Press, New York, N.Y., USA. 1995. xi + 290pp., 10 chapters, references, index. $55.00 IBSN 0-19-854070-1 (cloth).
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Using maximum likelihood estimators (in genetic stock identification), we used genetic markers to evaluate the utility of 2 morphological measures (culmen length and plumage color) to correctly identify groups of hunter-harvested dusky (Branta canadensis occidentalis) and dusky-like Canada geese on the wintering grounds within the Pacific Flyway. Significant levels of genetic differentiation were observed across all sampled breeding sites for both nuclear microsatellite loci and mtDNA when analyzed at the sequence level. The ability to discriminate among geese from these sites using genetic markers was further demonstrated using computer simulations. We estimated contributions from the Copper River Delta, the primary...
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Some diurnal raptors are frequently observed at prairie dog (Cynomys sp.) colonies. As a result, some military installations have conducted prairie dog control activities to reduce the bird-aircraft strike hazard (BASH) potential of low-flying aircraft. To evaluate the validity of this management strategy, we assessed raptor associations with prairie dog colonies at 2 short-grass prairie study areas: southern Lubbock County, Texas, USA, and Melrose Bombing and Gunnery Range in east-central New Mexico, USA. We quantified diurnal raptors (i.e., Falconiformes) at plots occupied (colony plots) and unoccupied (noncolony plots) by black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) at both sites throughout 2002. We compared...
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The Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) is listed as a threatened species throughout the southern extent of its geographic range in the United States. Most research on lynx has been conducted in the western United States and Canada; little is known about the ecology of lynx in eastern North America. To fill critical knowledge gaps about this species, we modeled and mapped lynx occurrence using habitat and weather data from 7 eastern states and 3 Canadian provinces. Annual snowfall, road density, bobcat (L. rufus) harvest, deciduous forest, and coniferous forest were compared at 1,150 lynx locations and 1,288 random locations. Nineteen a priori models were developed using the information-theoretic approach, and logistic...
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Interactions between wolves (Canis lupus) and coyotes (C. latrans) can have significant impacts on their distribution and abundance. We compared diets of recently translocated Mexican wolves (C. l. baileyi) with diets of resident coyotes in Arizona and New Mexico, USA. We systematically collected scats during 2000 and 2001. Coyote diet was composed mostly of mammalian species, followed by vegetation and insects. Elk (Cervus elaphus) was the most common item in coyote scats. Mexican wolf diet had a higher proportion of large mammals and fewer small mammals than coyote diet; however, elk was also the most common food item in Mexican wolf scats. Our results suggest that Mexican wolf diet was more similar to coyote...
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Prescribed fire is an important, ecology-driven tool for restoration of grassland systems. However, prescribed fire remains controversial for some grassland managers because of reported reductions in bird use of recently burned grasslands. Few studies have evaluated effects of fire on grassland bird populations in the northern mixed-grass prairie region. Fewer studies yet have examined the influence of fire on nest density or survival. In our review, we found no studies that simultaneously examined effects of fire on duck and passerine nesting. During 1998—2003, we examined effects of prescribed fire on the density of upland-nesting ducks and passerines nesting in north-central North Dakota, USA. Apparent nest densities...
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Under the Endangered Species Act, documenting recovery and federally mandated population levels of wolves (Canis lupus) in the Northern Rocky Mountains (NRM) requires monitoring wolf packs that successfully recruit young. United States Fish and Wildlife Service regulations define successful breeding pairs as packs estimated to contain an adult male and female, accompanied by ???2 pups on 31 December of a given year. Monitoring successful breeding pairs will become more difficult following proposed delisting of NRM wolves; alternatives to historically intensive methods, appropriate to the different ecological and regulatory context following delisting, are required. Because pack size is easier to monitor than pack...
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Coyotes (Canis latrans) may affect adult and neonate white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) survival and have been implicated as a contributor to the decline of deer populations. Additionally, coyote diet composition is influenced by prey availability, season, and region. Because coyote movement and diet vary by region, local data are important to understand coyote population dynamics and their impact on prey species. In southeast Minnesota, we investigated the effect of coyotes on white-tailed deer populations by documenting movement rates, distances moved, and habitats searched by coyotes during fawning and nonfawning periods. Additionally, we determined survival, cause-specific mortality, and seasonal diet...
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During June 1993 and 1994, 11 radiocollared and 7 unmarked grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) were monitored visually (observation) from fixed-wing aircraft to document predation on calves of the Porcupine Caribou (Rangifer tarandus) Herd (PCH) in northeastern Alaska. Twenty-six (72%) grizzly bear observations were completed (???60 min) successfully (median duration = 180 min; ??95% CI = 136-181 min; range = 67-189 min) and 10 were discontinued (duration ???24 min) due to disturbance to the bear, or unfavorable weather conditions. Of the 26 successfully completed observations, 15 (58%) included predatory activity (encounter) directed at caribou calves and 8 (31%) included kills. Of 32 encounters, 9 resulted in kills,...
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We used tetracycline biomarking, augmented with genetic methods to estimate the size of an American black bear (Ursus americanus) population on an island in Southeast Alaska. We marked 132 and 189 bears that consumed remote, tetracycline-laced baits in 2 different years, respectively, and observed 39 marks in 692 bone samples subsequently collected from hunters. We genetically analyzed hair samples from bait sites to determine the sex of marked bears, facilitating derivation of sex-specific population estimates. We obtained harvest samples from beyond the study area to correct for emigration. We estimated a density of 155 independent bears/100 km2, which is equivalent to the highest recorded for this species. This...
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Movement patterns of juvenile birds are poorly understood, yet critically important ecological phenomena, especially for species with a prolonged juvenile period. We evaluated postfledging movements of juvenile common ravens (Corvus corax) in a western Mojave Desert landscape composed of a mosaic of natural and anthropogenic elements. Generally, ravens do not begin breeding until after their fourth year. We marked 2 annual cohorts of juvenile ravens and followed them from dispersal from their natal territory for up to 33 months. Movements of juvenile common ravens were similar for males and females. Conspecifics and confined livestock feeding operations represented important resources for juvenile ravens, and juveniles...
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We studied breeding dark-eyed juncos (Junco hyemalis), yellow-rumped warblers (Dendroica coronata), and spruce-nesting birds from 1997 to 1998 among forests with different levels of spruce (Picea spp.) mortality following an outbreak of spruce beetles (Dendroctonus rufipennis) in Alaska, USA. We identified species using live and beetle-killed spruce for nest sites and monitored nests to determine how the outbreak influenced avian habitat selection and reproduction. We tested predictions that 1) nesting success of ground-nesting juncos would increase with spruce mortality due to proliferation of understory vegetation available to conceal nests from predators, 2) nesting success of canopy-nesting warblers would decrease...
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The North American population of king eiders (Somateria spectabilis) has declined by more than 50% since the late 1970s for unknown reasons. King eiders spend most of their lives in remote areas, forcing managers to make regulatory and conservation decisions based on very little information. We incorporated available published estimates of vital rates with new estimates to build a female, stage-based matrix population model for king eiders and examine the processes underlying population dynamics of king eiders breeding at 2 sites, Teshekpuk and Kuparuk, on the coastal plain of northern Alaska and wintering around the Bering Sea (2001–2010). We predicted a decreasing population (λ = 0.981, 95% CI: 0.978–0.985), and...
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We defined patterns of habitat use and selection by female grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) in the Besa-Prophet watershed of northern British Columbia. We fitted 13 adult females with Geographic Positioning System (GPS) radio-collars and monitored them between 2001 and 2004. We examined patterns of habitat selection by grizzly bears relative to topographical attributes and 3 potential surrogates of food availability: land-cover class, vegetation biomass or quality (as measured by the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index), and selection value for prey species themselves (moose [Alces alces], elk [Cervus elaphus], woodland caribou [Rangifer tarandus], Stone's sheep [Ovis dalli stonei]). Although vegetation biomass and...
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The breeding population of norther pintails (Anas acuta) in 1996 was 39% below the long-term average. Because winter habitat quality may influence subsequent breeding population size in pintails, identification of habitats used by wintering pintails and factors influencing use of habitats may be important for managing for population increase. We examined variation in diel use of habitats by radiotagged female pintails (n = 272) in southwestern Louisiana in relation to age (imm and ad), winter (1991-92 and 1992-93), and time period within winters (pre-hunting season, first hunting season, time between split hunting seasons, second hunting season, and post-hunting season). Diurnal use of refuges was significantly...
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Identification of wildlife species from indirect evidence can be an important part of wildlife management, and conventional +methods can be expensive or have high error rates. We used chemical characterization of the volatile organic constituents (VOCs) in scat as a method to identify 5 species of North American canids from multiple individuals. We sampled vapors of scats in the headspace over a sample using solid-phase microextraction and determined VOC content using gas chromatography with a flame ionization detector. We used linear discriminant analysis to develop models for differentiating species with bootstrapping to estimate accuracy. Our method correcdy classified 82.4% (bootstrapped 95% CI = 68.8-93.8%)...
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Bart et al. (2004) develop methods for predicting needed samples for estimation of long-term trends from Count survey data, and they apply these methods to the North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS). They recommend adding approximately 40% more survey routes ill the BBS to allow for estimation of long-term (i.e., 20 year) trends for a collection of species. We critique several aspects of their analysis and suggest that their focus on long-term trends and expansion of the present survey design will provide limited benefits for conservation because it fails to either enhance the credibility of the survey or better tie the survey to regional management activities. A primary innovation claimed by Bart et al. (2004)...