Patterns of habitat use of breeding ducks and grebes in the western boreal forest

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Kindopp, Rhona
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Dept. of Biology, c2006
Canada’s boreal forest provides important breeding habitat for 12 to 14 million migratory birds annually. Nonetheless the ecology of boreal wetlands remains poorly understood. Over the last 40 years, rapid industrial development with little attention to conservation has been ongoing in the region. Apparent population declines of species, such as that of lesser scaup have raised concerns about the quality of western boreal wetlands. This is one of very few studies demonstrating patterns in brood-rearing habitat use by ducks and grebes in the Canadian western boreal forest. In this study, wetland characteristics associated with brood-rearing wetlands of American wigeon (Anas Americana), green-winged teal (Anas crecca), mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), lesser scaup (Aythya affinis), ring-necked duck (Aythya collaris), horned grebe (Pondiceps auritus), and red-necked grebe (Podiceps grisegena) were investigated on 75 wetlands near Yellowknife, NT, Canada. I used Principle Components and regression analyses to delineate patterns of habitat use by breeding water birds. Results indicate that physical characteristics of wetlands, area in particular, had stronger correlations with brood-rearing habitat then did invertebrate abundance. Invertebrate groups positively associated with brood-rearing wetlands included: Amphipoda, Pelecypoda, and or Ephemeroptera. Breeding diving ducks had negative iv associations with Dipteran abundance. Diving ducks and red-necked grebes were more strongly correlated with habitat variables then were dabbling ducks and horned grebes. Brood-rearing wetlands of the smallest birds in the study, green-winged teal and horned grebe, had the fewest and weakest associations with habitat variables.
xiii, 97 leaves ; 29 cm
Ducks -- Ecology -- Canada, Western , Ducks -- Nests -- Canada, Western , Grebes -- Ecology -- Canada, Western , Grebes -- Nests -- Canada, Western , Habitat (Ecology) -- Canada, Western , Dissertations, Academic