Movement ecology and demographic parameters for the Common Merganser (Mergus merganser americanus) in North America are poorly known. We used band-recovery data from five locations across North America spanning the years 1938–1998 to examine migratory patterns and estimate survival rates. We examined competing time-invariant, age-graduated models with program MARK to study sources of variation in survival and reporting probability. We considered age, sex, geographic location, and the use of nasal saddles on hatching year birds at one location as possible sources of variation. Year-of-banding was included as a covariate in a post-hoc analysis. We found that migratory tendency, defined as the average distance between banding and recovery locations, varied geographically. Similarly, all models accounting for the majority of variation in recovery and survival probabilities included location of banding. Models that included age and sex received less support, but we lacked sufficient data to adequately assess these parameters. Model-averaged estimates of annual survival ranged from 0.21 in Michigan to 0.82 in Oklahoma. Heterogeneity in migration tendency and survival suggests that demographic patterns may vary across geographic scales, with implications for the population dynamics of this species.
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Vol. 76 • No. 2