Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Louisiana
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Louisiana Project

Linking annual waterfowl productivity and Louisiana hunter-harvest to natal / molt origins using stable isotope ecology

August 2022 - June 2026


Participating Agencies

  • Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

Identifying linkages between source origins (e.g. natal or molt origins) and wintering locations of waterfowl is important when developing sustainable harvest management strategies. However, traditional methods for determining migratory connectivity requires a capture-mark-recovery framework and the current distribution of capture locations may not be representative of the entire breeding range of a species due to limited accessibility. Our research compares estimates of harvest derivation from available banding data and stable isotope analyses of flight feathers in harvested blue-winged teal, green-winged teal, gadwall, mallard, northern pintail, and lesser scaup. This project is a collaboration of researchers from the Louisiana Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and University of Western Ontario and biologists with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Data acquired in this study will inform biologists on the representativeness of capture-mark-recovery methods to assess source-origins and migratory connectivity of managed waterfowl species. Further, this study may demonstrate the utility of incorporating source-origins estimates via stable isotope analyses into long-term monitoring programs of harvested waterfowl used to track hunter harvest and population productivity.

Presentations Presentation Date
Stemaly, S, Hobson, K, Ringelman, K, and D.N. Fowler. 2024. Breeding origins of waterfowl harvested in Louisiana derived from band recoveries and stable isotope (δ2H) measurements of feathers. 9th North American Duck Symposium. Portland OR, 5 -9 February 2024. February 2024