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

Missouri Project

Identifying effects of weather and land use on autumn and winter waterfowl distribution dynamics in the 21st century

July 2020 - June 2023


Participating Agencies

  • Mid-continent Climate Adaptation Science Center

Waterfowl are of substantial economic and cultural importance, with over 1 million hunters contributing approximately $700 million in total expenditures to local and regional economies annually. However recent concern over potential shifts in autumn and winter waterfowl distributions in response to changes in weather and land use patterns and the subsequent effects on recreational opportunities (e.g., harvest) have conservation and management implications at the continental level. Understanding if autumn and winter waterfowl distributions are changing and the relative role of weather and land use in influencing distributions will provide information for managers to communicate with stakeholders and could allow for more strategic conservation and management of habitat resources to accommodate potentially shifting waterfowl populations. We will quantify within season and across year shifts in waterfowl distribution in the Mississippi and Central flyways based on band recovery, parts collection survey and long-term waterfowl count data. We will also analyze the relative importance of weather and land use in explaining autumn and winter waterfowl distribution. This approach will allow us to map species-specific shifts in waterfowl distribution during autumn and winter, project future distributions and identify adaptive capacities required to provide sufficient habitat and food energy for shifting waterfowl distributions

Research Publications Publication Date
Verheijen, B.H.F., E.B. Webb, M.G. Brasher and H.M. Hagy. 2024. Long-term changes in autumn-winter harvest distributions vary among duck species, months, and subpopulations. Ecology and Evolution June 2024