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Monday, February 6 • 4:00pm - 4:20pm
Technical Session. Estimating the Survival of Unmarked Young from Repeated Counts: A Case Study with Ring-necked Pheasants

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AUTHORS: Timothy P. Lyons, Illinois Natural History Survey, Prairie Research Institute and Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Kirk W. Stodola, Thomas J. Benson - Illinois Natural History Survey, Prairie Research Institute

ABSTRACT: Estimating juvenile survival is important to the management of both game and non-game species. Among game birds, brood survival is often the most influential demographic parameter on population growth. However, accurately estimating this parameter can be difficult as limited resources or concerns about animal welfare may preclude the use of unique marks, such as leg bands or radio-transmitters, to track survival. We developed a hierarchical Bayesian model that accurately estimates period survival from two flush counts of unmarked young accompanied by a marked adult, while also accounting for imperfect detection. We used this model to estimate brood survival of ring-necked pheasants (Phasianus colchicus) on private and public grasslands in east-central Illinois 2015-2016. We examined the effects of landscape context, vegetation composition, and weather on survival. During our study, brood survival was generally high, and averaged 68% in 2015 and 84% in 2016. Overall, our results suggest that structured flush counts combined with appropriate statistical methods can be used to generate accurate estimates of survival for dependent young in pheasants, and this approach may be effective for other species

Monday February 6, 2017 4:00pm - 4:20pm CST
Grand Ballroom B