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Band reporting probabilities of mallards, American black ducks, and wood ducks in eastern North America


  • Associate Editor: Joel Schmutz


Estimates of band reporting probabilities are used for managing North American waterfowl to convert band recovery probabilities into harvest probabilities, which are used to set harvest regulations. Band reporting probability is the probability that someone who has shot and retrieved a banded bird will report the band. This probability can vary relative to a number of factors, particularly the inscription on the band and the ease with which it can be reported. Other factors, such as geographic reporting region, and species and sex of the bird may also play a role. We tested whether reporting probabilities of wood ducks (Aix sponsa) and American black ducks (black ducks; Anas rubripes) differed from those of mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) and whether band reporting varied geographically or by the sex of the banded bird. In the analysis of spatially comparable wood duck and mallard data, a band reporting probability of 0.73 (95% CI = 0.67–0.78) was appropriate for use across species, sex, and reporting region within the United States. In the black duck–mallard comparison, the band reporting probability of black ducks in Eastern Canada (0.50, 95% CI = 0.44–0.57) was lower than in the Eastern United States (0.73, 95% CI = 0.62–0.83). These estimates reflected an increase in overall band reporting probability following the addition of a toll-free telephone number to band inscriptions. Lower reporting in Eastern Canada may be because of cultural, linguistic, or logistical barriers. © 2013 The Wildlife Society.