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Landscape effects on mallard habitat selection at multiple spatial scales during the non-breeding period

January 1, 2015

Previous studies that evaluated effects of landscape-scale habitat heterogeneity on migratory waterbird distributions were spatially limited and temporally restricted to one major life-history phase. However, effects of landscape-scale habitat heterogeneity on long-distance migratory waterbirds can be studied across the annual cycle using new technologies, including global positioning system satellite transmitters. We used Bayesian discrete choice models to examine the influence of local habitats and landscape composition on habitat selection by a generalist dabbling duck, the mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), in the midcontinent of North America during the non-breeding period. Using a previously published empirical movement metric, we separated the non-breeding period into three seasons, including autumn migration, winter, and spring migration. We defined spatial scales based on movement patterns such that movements >0.25 and <30.00 km were classified as local scale and movements >30.00 km were classified as relocation scale. Habitat selection at the local scale was generally influenced by local and landscape-level variables across all seasons. Variables in top models at the local scale included proximities to cropland, emergent wetland, open water, and woody wetland. Similarly, variables associated with area of cropland, emergent wetland, open water, and woody wetland were also included at the local scale. At the relocation scale, mallards selected resource units based on more generalized variables, including proximity to wetlands and total wetland area. Our results emphasize the role of landscape composition in waterbird habitat selection and provide further support for local wetland landscapes to be considered functional units of waterbird conservation and management.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2014
Title Landscape effects on mallard habitat selection at multiple spatial scales during the non-breeding period
DOI 10.1007/s10980-014-0035-x
Authors William S. Beatty, Elisabeth B. Webb, Dylan C. Kesler, Andrew H. Raedeke, Luke W. Naylor, Dale D. Humburg
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Landscape Ecology
Series Number
Index ID 70155072
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Coop Res Unit Atlanta

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