Science Summary—Learning More About Waterfowl to Inform Management

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Today, perhaps as never before, waterfowl management faces significant challenges resulting from key scientific uncertainties about the effects of drivers of duck population change in fast-changing ecological and social arenas. Additionally waterfowl management has been on the cutting edge of considering integrated management of habitat, harvest, and humans to better meet the demands from a changing ecological and sociological landscape.

New Findings Presented

The 7th North American Duck Symposium was held at the Westin Annapolis Hotel, 1-5 February 2016 and co-chaired by University of Delaware and USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. This conference drew together researchers, government, non-government conservation organizations, and industry representatives to address shared priorities for waterfowl and wetland conservation and management.

Morning plenary speakers were followed by concurrent sessions which included key topics including sustainable wildlife harvest, identifying sources of habitat degradation, socio-economics in waterfowl management, adaptive management, establishing collaborative research relationships with industry to benefit conservation and feature sessions dedicated to breeding biology, migration ecology, winter ecology, foraging, physiology, diseases, and contaminants. Other conference sessions examined techniques for determining population status and trends, population dynamics, survival and recruitment, migratory pathways, critical habitats, and management options.

Findings from the Symposium will help inform restoration of Waterfowl and their habitat, including applications for Chesapeake Bay.


USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center presented the following:


  • Geographic and Interspecific Variation of Seaduck Food Habits In Northeastern North America (Matthew C. Perry*, Peter C. Osenton, Alicia M. Wells-Berlin)
  • Adaptive Waterfowl Harvest Management: Where Are We and How Did We Get Here? (Jim Nichols*, Fred Johnson, S. Boomer, B. Ken Williams)
  • Decision Analysis as a Framework to Link Waterfowl Research and Management (Michael C. Runge*, G. Scott Boomer, Fred A. Johnson, and Byron K. Williams)
  • Research and Management of Ducks on a Private Ranch in Argentina (Don Pablo Research Team: Andrea Amaiden, Alicia Berlin, Josh Bueth, Enrique Bucher, Anibal Carbajo, Erio Curto, Marcelo Janik, Alan Jolicoeur, Scott McWilliams, Glenn Olsen, Christopher Perry, Matthew Perry*, Marcelo Prodel, Marcelo Romano, Sarah Sandoval-Mohapatra, Edward Soutiere)
  • Modeling Observer Detection Rates in Aerial Surveys (Mark C. Otto*, John R. Sauer)


  • An Improved Technique for Attaching Backpack Transmitters on Diving Duck (Charlotte B. L. Kilchenstein*, Kevin M. McBride, Alicia M. Wells-Berlin, Jonathan L. Fiely)
  • Bird Banding Laboratory Information and Bandit Data Entry Assistance (Jo Anna Lutmerding*)
  • Successful Breeding and Egg Formation of Satellite Marked Common Eiders (Lucas Savoy*, Chris Dwyer, Glenn H. Olsen, Samantha E.J. Gibbs, Randall M. Mickley)
  • The Foraging Habits and Resultant Functional Response of American Black Ducks (Jessica L. O’Connor*, Alicia M. Wells-Berlin, Patrick C. Kangas, Jennifer Murrow)
  • Migration, Phenology, and Philopatry of Long-tailed Ducks Wintering on the Atlantic Coast (Alicia M. Wells-Berlin*, Matthew C. Perry, Jonathan Fiely)
  • Captive Raised Duckling Growth Models for Sea Ducks and Dabbling Ducks (Kathleen A. McGrew*, Sarah Fitzgerald, Alicia M. Wells-Berlin)
  • Estimating Behavioral Multipliers to Resting Metabolic Rate in American Black Duck and Lesser Scaup (Jacob McPherson*, Christopher Williams, Alicia Berlin, John Coluccy)
  • Hematology and Chemistry of Wild Scoters and Long-tailed Ducks (Glenn H. Olsen*, Alicia M. Wells-Berlin, Sara E. Crowell, Kathleen A. McGrew)


Photo of Patuxent waterfowl

Photo taken at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center by USGS intern Toni Smith. (Public domain)

For more information from the Symposium go to:


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