Survival and Recovery Rates of Mottled Ducks in Georgia 2006-2013

The mottled duck (Anas fulvigula) naturally occurs in two populations: one in the coastal marsh of the western Gulf of Mexico and another in peninsular Florida. A third, introduced, population occurs on the southern Atlantic coast in South Carolina and Georgia. Most mottled ducks in Georgia occur on Altamaha Wildlife Management Area, McIntosh County. In 2006, we began banding mottled ducks in Georgia using airboats at night and collected banding and recovery data from 2006 through spring 2014. We used Program MARK to estimate survival rates, Seber recovery rates, and Brownie recovery rates. We captured and banded 232 mottled ducks and received 47 band recoveries. Our model weights suggested that survival and recovery rates were mostly constant across time and age and sex class. Averaged model results indicated that adult survival was 0.351 for males and 0.347 for females, juvenile survival was 0.348 for males and 0.352 for females, adult Brownie recovery rate was 0.141 for males and 0.162 for females, and juvenile Brownie recovery rate was 0.153 for males and 0.140 for females. Survival rates were lower and recovery rates were higher than those reported from Texas-Louisiana and Florida. We hypothesize that this pattern occurred because we banded in areas with both the greatest hunting pressure and alligator densities, and we observed rapid deterioration of bands which may have caused under-reporting.

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