The lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley (hereafter LMAV) provides winter habitat for approximately 40% of the Mississippi Flyway's Mallard (Anas platyrhynhcos) population; information on winter survival rates of female Mallards in the LMAV is restricted to data collected prior to implementation of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. To estimate recent survival and cause-specific mortality rates in the LMAV, 174 radio-marked female Mallards were tracked for a total of 11,912 exposure days. Survival varied by time periods defined by hunting seasons, and females with lower body condition (size adjusted body mass) at time of capture had reduced probability of survival. Female survival was less and the duration of our tracking period was greater than those in previous studies of similarly marked females in the LMAV; the product-limit survival estimate (±SE) through the entire tracking period (136 days) was 0.54 ± 0.10. Cause-specific mortality rates were 0.18 ± 0.04 and 0.34 ± 0.12 for hunting and other sources of mortality, respectively; the estimated mortality rate from other sources (including those from avian, mammalian, or unknown sources) was higher than mortality from non-hunting sources reported in previous studies of Mallards in the LMAV. Models that incorporate winter survival estimates as a factor in Mallard population growth rates should be adjusted for these reduced winter survival estimates.
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Vol. 34 • No. 2