Krementz, D. G., K. Asante, and L. W. Naylor. 2011. Spring Migration of Mallards from Arkansas as Determined by Satellite Telemetry. Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management 2(2).
We used satellite telemetry to document spring migration phenology, routes, stopover regions, and nesting sites of mallards (Anas playtyrynchos) marked in Arkansas during the winters of 2004-2007. Of the 143 marked mallards that migrated from Arkansas, they did so, on average, by mid-March. Mallards flew over the Missouri Ozarks and 42% made an initial stopover in Missouri where they used areas that had larger rivers (Mississippi River, Missouri River) embedded in an agricultural landscape. From this stopover region they either migrated directly to the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) or they migrated north to Minnesota where they either moved next to the PPR or to the north and east of the PPR. For those mallards (83%) that stopped for >1day before entering the PPR, the average length at each stop was 12 days (SE = 0.90 days, range = 2 - 54 days). Mallards made more stopovers, made shorter migration movements, and took longer to move to the PPR in wetter than drier years. Mallards arrived in the PPR earlier in 2006 (¯(×) = 30 March, SE = 2.18 days) than in 2005 (× ̅ = 7 April, SE = 2.30 days). Females nested across nine Bird Conservation Regions. Nesting occurred most frequently in South Dakota (n = 9). The average date when females nested was 19 April (SE = 2.44 days, range = 12 Mar – 26 May). Because many mallards headed for the large river corridors in Missouri for their first stopover, this region is an important spring migration stopover of continental importance to mallards and should be a focal area of conservation.