Climatic and Aquacultural Influences on Waterfowl Use of Catfish Ponds

We compared climatic and pond-management parameters with aerial census estimates of waterfowl and American coots (Fulica americana) on randomly selected clusters of channel catfish (lctalurus punctatus) impoundments in the Delta Region of Mississippi from November 1983 to March 1984 and from October 1984 to March 1985. Mean total waterfowl and coot estimates for 1983-84 and 1984-85 were 51,853 and 81,325, respectively. Numbers of lesser scaup (Aytha affinis) increased four-fold the second winter. Weekly waterfowl and coot populations fluctuated with temperature, rainfall, and ice over. Waterfowl and coot numbers were positively correlated with seining, distance of ponds from disturbance, and the presence of aquatic vegetation and trash fish, and negatively correlated with hunting pressure. More coots used recently drained ponds than ponds drained 2 to 4 years prior to surveys.

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