Survival and Habitat Use of Female Gadwalls Along the Gulf Coast
Over 75 percent of North America’s gadwall population winters along the Louisiana and Texas Gulf Coasts. Gadwalls frequent the coastal marshes in these states and typically rank first or second among all duck species in terms of number harvested. Despite their significance to hunters in this region, waterfowl biologists have a relatively poor understanding of gadwall habitat use, regional and long-range movements, and over-winter survival rates. Gadwalls spend extensive time feeding during the winter, hence habitat quality and quantity and disturbance maybe important factors influencing choice of wintering areas, regional movements, and over-winter survival rates.
Consequently, the Gulf Coast Joint Venture (GCJV), Ducks Unlimited (DU), Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and Louisiana State University have initiated a cooperative research effort to better understand winter movements and survival of gadwall. A pilot research study was conducted during fall and winter 2006-2007 to assist with the development of a full-scale study during 2007 – 2009. Results of this research will be used to evaluate current GCJV conservation strategies that focus on restoring habitats to attract and support wintering gadwalls.
1) Estimate habitat use by female gadwalls during winter in coastal Louisiana.
2) Quantify large scale movements of female gadwalls during winter in coastal Louisiana.
3) Document spring migration corridors, chronology, and indicated breeding areas of female gadwall that winter in coastal Louisiana.
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