Possessing annual estimates of black duck population characteristics, including abundance, sex and age structure, and vital rates (i.e., survival and recruitment) is critical to fulfilling the mission of the BDJV and achieving the goals of the NAWMP. These estimates form the basis of black duck adaptive management and allow researchers and managers to assess model predictions, evaluate responses of black ducks to management, and track progress towards NAWMP goals. Black duck population monitoring consists of three complementary programs: pre-season banding, the Mid-Winter Inventory, and Eastern Breeding Waterfowl Survey.
Banding: Banding is an important tool in migratory bird management. When combined with population and harvest data banding provides important information about population dynamics and structure, distribution, and derivation of harvest. This information in turn helps guide management activities. The first “Continental Waterfowl Banding Program” was issued jointly by CWS and USFWS in 1959. This cooperative plan, and subsequent updates in 1967, 1971, 1975, 1985, and 1989, has served as the principle framework for waterfowl banding and provides specific banding goals (i.e., quotas) by region for the black duck. Another update to the plan is currently in progress. Pre-season banding of black ducks is coordinated by two programs, the Eastern Canada Cooperative Banding Program (ECCBP) and the Northeast States Banding Program (NESBP). The ECCBP was initiated in 1963 to focus efforts on duck banding in eastern Canada and to obtain representative samples of black ducks and mallards. The ECCBP is coordinated by the banding committee of the Atlantic Flyway. Funding for the ECCBP is provided by the Atlantic Flyway, state and provincial agencies, and the BDJV. The NESBP is funded by the BDJV to increase the number of black ducks and mallards banded in northeastern U.S.
Table 1. Number of black ducks banded in the pre-season (July–September) 2010 and 2009.
Note: Pre-season Banding Data obtained from the Bird Banding Laboratory on 20 June 2011.