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Keywords:

  • Alberta;
  • Barrow's goldeneye;
  • Bucephala islandica;
  • fall staging;
  • hunting mortality;
  • postbreeding;
  • remigial molt;
  • survival

Abstract

Postbreeding survival of waterfowl is rarely quantified, despite potential for constraints during this stage of the annual cycle that may subsequently affect population dynamics. We estimated survival of radio-marked adult male Barrow's goldeneyes (Bucephala islandica) during remigial molt and fall staging at Cardinal and Leddy Lakes in the Boreal Transition Zone of northwestern Alberta, Canada. Daily survival rate (DSR) was high during remigial molt (DSR = 0.9987, 95% CI: 0.9967–1.0000), corresponding to a 39-day period survival rate (PSR) of 0.95 (95% CI: 0.88–1.00). During fall staging, DSR was markedly lower (DSR = 0.9938, 95% CI: 0.9898–0.9978), corresponding to a PSR of 0.68 (95% CI: 0.53–0.87) over the 62-day period between the end of remigial molt and fall migration. Half of fall staging mortalities observed on Cardinal Lake were directly attributed to hunting. We conclude that remigial molt is a period with high survival in the annual cycle of Barrow's goldeneyes at our study sites. However, in light of low fall staging survival, Barrow's goldeneye harvest management strategies should be carefully evaluated with intent to reduce risk of localized high mortality at significant staging sites in western Canada. © 2013 The Wildlife Society.