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

TitleLandscape effects on mallard habitat selection at multiple spatial scales during the non-breeding period
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsBeatty, William S., Webb Elisabeth B., Kesler Dylan C., Raedeke Andrew H., Naylor Luke W., and Humburg Dale D.
JournalLandscape Ecology
Volume29
Pagination989 - 1000
Date Published7/2014
ISSN1572-9761
KeywordsAnas platyrhynchos, Annual cycle, Discrete choice, Resource selection, Waterbird, Waterfowl
Abstract

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 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.

DOI10.1007/s10980-014-0035-x