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ABR Authors:
  • Bob Ritchie


Spatial distribution of band recoveries of Black Brant

Leach, A. G., D. H. Ward, J. S. Sedinger, T. V. Riecke, J. W. Hupp, and R. J. Ritchie. 2018. Spatial distribution of band recoveries of Black Brant. Wildlife Management 83(2): 304–311. DOI:10.1002/jwmg.21595

On average, band recovery rates of adult black brant (Branta bernicla nigricans) more than doubled between the 2000s and 2010s. However, the spatial distribution of band recoveries of black brant has not been reported. Our objective was to describe the spatial distribution of band recoveries of black brant since 1990. We found that Alaska, California, and Mexico accounted for ≥89% of band recoveries for black brant released from the Arctic and the Tutakoke River Colony in southwestern Alaska, in each decade studied. Although recovery rates increased in each major harvest region from the 1990s to 2010s, increases were not even. For brant released from the Arctic, the recovery rate in Alaska has gone up 7‐fold, whereas the recovery rate in Mexico has increased 1.3‐fold since the 1990s. For brant banded in the Arctic, the increased recovery rates in Alaska resulted largely from a rise in recoveries from the Izembek Lagoon area. For brant banded at the Tutakoke River Colony, the recovery rate in Alaska increased 4.8‐fold, whereas recovery rates in Mexico increased 1.6‐fold. Despite the reduced relative contribution of Mexico to band recoveries in the 2010s, Bahia San Quintin, Mexico, still contributes more recoveries than any other wintering estuary. Because 57–60% of black brant band recoveries occur at the localities of Izembek Lagoon, Alaska; Humboldt Bay, California; and Bahia San Quintin, it is likely that accurate annual estimates of the black brant population using Lincoln's method could be derived from hunter bag checks at these 3 areas. If population managers are interested in managing harvest rates of black brant, they could focus efforts on the main hunting areas we highlight in this paper. Finally, it is unclear if the recent increases in band recovery rates are the result of increased harvest, a declining population, or both; therefore, we suggest refinement of population monitoring programs and continued monitoring of band recovery rates. © 2018 The Wildlife Society.

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