Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Filling The Dinner Plates For Winter Ducks, Geese

Date:
December 29, 2003
Source:
University Of California Davis
Summary:
As California's migratory season peaks, UC Davis scientists are asking how well our wetlands support wintering waterfowl. John Eadie, a professor of wildlife biology, and his colleagues have made the surprising discovery that our wetlands yield far less food than biologists assumed.

As California's migratory season peaks, UC Davis scientists are asking how well our wetlands support wintering waterfowl. California provides winter homes for 1 in 5 of North America's waterfowl, or 2-3 million birds. Their numbers are highest from October to December. Most flock to the Central Valley, making UC Davis an ideal location for studying them.

Related Articles


John Eadie, a professor of wildlife biology, and his colleagues have made the surprising discovery that our wetlands yield far less food than biologists assumed. That could have important implications for managing wetlands to support waterfowl populations.

Ducks and geese eat a combination of seeds, plant parts and invertebrates such as insects and worms. Biologists thought that each acre of wetland produced about 1,500 pounds of these foods per winter season, with at least half (750 pounds per acre) available to feeding birds. But Eadie's team found that Central Valley wetlands provide an average of only 500 pounds of food per acre, with some areas making much less.

Eadie points out that our wintering ducks and geese usually live on wetlands managed by humans. "California has lost over 90 percent of its natural wetlands, more than any other state," he says. This means that many birds spend the winter on flooded agricultural lands, where Eadie says they act as "flying rototillers," or on duck club properties, preserved by hunters to help maintain duck populations.

Management strategies, such as the use of irrigation or cultivation, might have a big impact on food yields. "We may be able to get more food from existing habitat by managing it differently," Eadie says. "It's not only the acquisition of more habitat that is important."

In one project, Eadie is testing whether irrigating wetlands increases their food yields. He's also asking when irrigation should happen, and how much to irrigate.

Eadie's work will add to international conservation efforts. Although North American waterfowl populations are recovering from their 1980s lows, they are still below the 1970s levels that conservationists hope to reach.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of California Davis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of California Davis. "Filling The Dinner Plates For Winter Ducks, Geese." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 December 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/12/031228165936.htm>.
University Of California Davis. (2003, December 29). Filling The Dinner Plates For Winter Ducks, Geese. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/12/031228165936.htm
University Of California Davis. "Filling The Dinner Plates For Winter Ducks, Geese." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/12/031228165936.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Newsy (Nov. 22, 2014) For the first time Monterey Bay Aquarium recorded a video of the elusive, creepy and rarely seen anglerfish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Around the World Take Flight

Birds Around the World Take Flight

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 22, 2014) An imperial eagle equipped with a camera spreads its wings over London. It's just one of the many birds making headlines in this week's "animal roundup". Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins