Migration and Habitat Use of Pacific Barrow's Goldeneye

Boyd, W.S.
Esler, Dan
Bowman, Tim
Thompson, Jonathan E.
Science and Technology, Environment Canada Delta BC
Centre for Wildlife Ecology, Simon Fraser University Delta BC
Sea Duck Joint Venture - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Alaska
Ducks Unlimited Canada - Edmonton AB
Publication Date: 

Connectivity among annual cycle stages, rates of site fidelity, and the geographic scale of dispersal are largely unknown for Pacific Barrow’s Goldeneye (BAGO). This precludes managers and researchers from identifying demographically discrete units for population management, and for understanding the scale of inference from field studies. Further, habitats and specific sites that may be particularly important for BAGO are difficult to identify, as this species is not well covered by surveys for most of its annual cycle and range.

This project aims to fill the aforementioned information gaps by using satellite telemetry to identify breeding, molt and winter sites, and to quantify seasonal connectivity, timing of movements, site fidelity, habitat use patterns, and demographic structure of populations. More specifically, our research will address the following questions:

1) What are the rates, and geographic scale, of inter-annual site fidelity by different sex and age classes at various stages of the annual cycle (i.e., winter, breeding, molt)?
2) Do birds from the same breeding site occur in discrete areas during winter, or are they widely distributed, and vice versa?
3) How do the answers to 1 and 2 above combine to indicate demographically distinct management units?
4) Are there important habitats or specific sites that are used by a large proportion of marked birds, which would indicate their value for conservation?

From 2006 to 2010, we deployed 184 PTTs on BAGO at four sites as described in the table, and shown in the maps, below. Follow the links at the top of this page to view maps depicting the migratory routes of BAGO tagged at each of these locations. Maps for both individual migrations, as well as summaries for cohorts, are available to view.