Understanding daily movements of waterfowl is crucial to management of winter habitats, especially along the Gulf Coast where hunting pressure is high. Radio-telemetry was used to investigate movements of female Mallards (Anas platyrchychos) wintering in southwestern Louisiana. Movement distances were analyzed from 2,455 paired locations (diurnal and nocturnal) of 126 Mallards during winters 2004–2005 and 2005–2006 to assess effects of winter, female age, areas closed (Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge [LAC], Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge [CAM], Amoco Pool [AMOCO] or open to hunting [OPEN]), and habitat type, including all interactions. Movement distances from the various land management categories were not consistent by age, date, or by winter. Flight distances from LAC increased with date, whereas those from CAM and OPEN did not vary significantly by date. Female Mallards moved short distances between diurnal and nocturnal sites (ranging from 3.1 to 15.0 km by land management category), suggesting that they are able to meet their daily energy requirements within a smaller area than Northern Pintails (Anas acuta, hereafter Pintails), and thus minimize transit energy costs.
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Vol. 34 • No. 4