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WILDLIFE SPECIES:  Aythya valisineria


WILDLIFE SPECIES: Aythya valisineria
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Tesky, Julie L. 1993. Aythya valisineria. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].

ABBREVIATION : AYVA COMMON NAMES : canvasback canvas-backed duck can TAXONOMY : The currently recognized scientific name for the canvasback is Aythya valisineria (Wilson). There are no recognized subspecies [1,3,8,19]. ORDER : Anseriformes CLASS : Bird FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : Canvasback is noted in the Audobon Society's Blue List as a species of special concern [20].


WILDLIFE SPECIES: Aythya valisineria
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Canvasbacks breed from central Alaska and northern Yukon to western Ontario and south to southeastern Alaska; and locally in inland areas to northeastern California across to northern Utah, central New Mexico, northernwestern Iowa, and southern Ontario. They winter from along the Pacific Coast from the central Aleutians and southeastern Alaska south to Baja California; from Arizona and New Mexico to the Great Lakes; and, along the Atlantic Coast from New England south to the Gulf Coast and Mexico [3,8]. Canvasbacks also occasionally winter in Cuba, Bermuda, and Guatemala [12]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES10 White-red-jack pine FRES11 Spruce-fir FRES16 Oak-gum-cypress FRES17 Elm-ash-cottonwood FRES23 Fir-spruce FRES28 Western hardwoods FRES36 Mountain grasslands FRES37 Mountain meadows FRES38 Plains grasslands FRES39 Prairie FRES40 Desert grasslands FRES41 Wet grasslands FRES42 Annual grasslands STATES :


BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : 1 Northern Pacific Border 2 Cascade Mountains 3 Southern Pacific Border 4 Sierra Mountains 5 Columbia Plateau 6 Upper Basin and Range 7 Lower Basin and Range 8 Northern Rocky Mountains 9 Middle Rocky Mountains 10 Wyoming Basin 11 Southern Rocky Mountains 12 Colorado Plateau 13 Rocky Mountain Piedmont 14 Great Plains 15 Black Hills Uplift 16 Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K047 Fescue - oatgrass K048 California steppe K049 Tule marshes K050 Fescue - wheatgrass K051 Wheatgrass - bluegrass K054 Grama - tobosa prairie K057 Galleta - three-awn shrubsteppe K063 Foothills prairie K064 Grama - needlegrass - wheatgrass K065 Grama - buffalograss K066 Wheatgrass - needlegrass K067 Wheatgrass - bluestem - needlegrass K068 Wheatgrass - grama - buffalograss K069 Bluestem - grama prairie K070 Sandsage - bluestem prairie K072 Sea oats prairie K073 Northern cordgrass prairie K074 Bluestem prairie K075 Nebraska Sandhills prairie K076 Blackland prairie K077 Bluestem - sacahuista prairie K078 Southern cordgrass prairie K079 Palmetto prairie K080 Marl - everglades K088 Fayette prairie K092 Everglades K094 Conifer bog K105 Mangrove SAF COVER TYPES : 95 Black willow 106 Mangrove 222 Black cottonwood - willow 235 Cottonwood - willow SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY PLANT COMMUNITIES : Canvasbacks are found on marshes or large lakes scattered throughout boreal forests, on mixed prairies, and on the drier shortgrass prairies [1]. Within these plant associations, canvasbacks often inhabit shallow prairie marshes surrounded by bulrushes (Scirpus spp.), cattails (Typha spp.), sedges (Carex spp.), reeds (Phragmites spp.), and other similar emergent vegetation [1,8]. Canvasback nests are often located in pure stands of hardstem bulrush (Scirpus acutus) or in hardstem bulrush mixed with cattail, burreed (Sanguisorba spp.), or sedges [1,7]. In prairie pothole areas, cattails are commonly used for nesting cover. At Lousana, Alberta, 29 percent of canvasback nests were among flooded willows (Salix spp.); at Redvers, Saskatchewan, 9 percent were among willows. On the Saskatchewan Delta, most nests were located in reed [1]. During winter, beds of wild celery (Vallesniria spp.) in fresh water habitats are heavily utilized by canvasbacks as are pondweeds (Potamogeton spp.), widgeongrass (Ruppia maritima), and eelgrass (Zostera marina) in more brackish areas. In the interior of the continent, lakes and marshes with heavy growths of pondweeds and wild celery provide major concentration points for canvasbacks [8]. REFERENCES : NO-ENTRY


WILDLIFE SPECIES: Aythya valisineria
TIMING OF MAJOR LIFE HISTORY EVENTS : Pair bonding - Canvasback pair bonding takes place in late winter. Most canvasbacks arrive on their breeding grounds already paired [12]. Nesting - Canvasbacks begin to nest in late April or early May [1]. Even in the subarctic, canvasbacks nest almost as early as in the northern prairies [1]. The nesting season generally lasts from April to June [1,12]. Clutch size/incubation - Determining the clutch size in canvasback nests is complicated by the effect of redhead (Aythya americana) parasitism on the number of host eggs. When redheads lay in canvasback nests, host clutches are reduced in size. Clutches usually consist of 7 to 12 eggs and average 9 1/2 in nonparasitized nests. Clutches are somewhat smaller in parasitized nests [1,8]. Female canvasbacks seldom lay eggs in the nests of other species but commonly parasitize the nests of other canvasback hens [1]. The incubation period normally lasts about 24 days but sometimes as long as 29 days [7,8]. The inclusion of eggs laid by other females sometimes results in several unhatched eggs being left in the nest at the time of general hatching [8]. Fledging - Fledging requires about 56 to 68 days [8]. Age at sexual maturity - Canvasbacks become sexually mature their first winter [7,8]. Molting - Drakes begin to gather on molting grounds shortly after females start incubation. Most have completed their prenuptual molt by mid-October or early November. Hens begin to molt after leaving their broods in the fall [7]. Migration/Fall - Canvasbacks begin to migrate into the Northern Great Plains in early September. Numbers slowly build up to late October, followed by rapid departures in early November. Canvasbacks in the east arrive in the Great Lakes States in early October, reach peak numbers by early November, and decline rapidly to wintering numbers by the end of the month. Canvasbacks arrive on their winter grounds adjacent to the central Gulf Coast in late November. Farther south on the lower Texas coast, however, they arrive almost a month earlier [1]. They arrive on winter grounds in central California in late October, and numbers steadily increase through November and December. On winter grounds in southern California, canvasbacks do not appear until late November and rapidly increase in numbers through December [1]. Migration/spring - Canvasbacks begin departing many of their winter areas in early February. On most winter areas, there is a steady departure lasting almost to mid-April. On lakes midway to their breeding grounds, canvasbacks appear in small numbers in late February, with populations rapidly increasing through March. Canvasbacks begin to arrive on the southern margins of their breeding grounds in the Great Plains in early April [1]. PREFERRED HABITAT : Breeding/nesting habitat - Canvasbacks breed and nest on large marshes, ponds, sloughs, and potholes [1]. Pairs occupy the larger, deeper ponds for feeding, resting, and courting but use the smaller, shallower ponds for nesting. These ponds are usually less than an acre and are encircled by bands of cattails and bulrushes. Brood ponds are intermediate in size between those used for feeding and for nesting but contain considerable marsh vegetation [1]. Canvasbacks usually nest over water 6 to 24 inches (15-60 cm) deep [1,3]. They sometimes build their nests on muskrat houses and rarely on dry ground. They attach the nest to surrounding plants or build it on a mat of floating dead plants, generally 3 to 60 feet (0.9-18.3 m) from the edge of open water [3,7]. Migration and winter habitat - Large lakes of 150 acres (61 ha) or more, marshes, and rivers with submerged beds of pondweed are favored during migration. Canvasbacks winter primarily on estuaries, sheltered bays, coastal lagoons, and sometimes on deep freshwater lakes [3,8]. COVER REQUIREMENTS : Canvasbacks select stands of emergent vegetation for nesting cover [7]. Canvasback broods seek the most open, the largest, and the deepest potholes for their development [1]. FOOD HABITS : Canvasbacks dive in shallow water, usually 3 to 12 feet (0.9-3.6 m) deep, for food. Their diet generally consists of about 80 percent vegetative matter [3]. In the northeastern United States, canvasbacks prefer seeds and vegetative parts of wild celery; in the Southeast and the West they primarily consume pondweeds. They also feed on bulrush seeds, widgeongrass, eelgrass, arrowhead (Sagittaria spp.) and coontail (Ceratophyllum demersum). Animal matter consumed by canvasbacks mostly consists of mollusks, insects, fish, and mud crabs [1,3,10]. Management of food resources on canvasback staging areas must emphasize wild celery and other plants that produce tubers, such as arrowhead and pondweeds [10]. PREDATORS : The heaviest nest destruction by predators commonly occurs during the egg-laying period when the hen is off the nest [7]. Raccoons are the most common predators of canvasback nests. In 1973 one study reported that this predator was responsible for 60 percent of all canvasback nests destroyed in the Minnesota potholes in Manitoba [1]. Skunks are the second most important mammalian predator of canvasback nests in the prairie breeding grounds. They are especially destructive in years when water recedes from marginal marsh cover, leaving nests stranded on dry ground, or when low water at the beginning of the nesting season necessitates placing nests out of the water. Coyotes, foxes, minks, weasels, crows, and magpies also prey upon canvasback nests [1]. Additionally coyotes, foxes, minks, and weasels prey on ducklings and adults. MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Of all the extensively distributed game ducks in North America, the canvasback is the least abundant [1]. The canvasback population has decreased due to habitat loss and overhunting [8]. In the 1930's the population decreased after a series of drought years prevented any reasonable breeding success. During the 1960's and 1970's the extensive drainage of prairie marshes resulted in a decline in canvasbacks to an estimated 500,000 individuals by the mid 1970's; a 50 percent reduction of numbers estimated 20 years earlier. Canvasbacks have also been lost due to oil spills in key wintering areas [12]. Current population numbers were not found in the literature. Desertion of canvasback nests is a far greater problem than in most other waterfowl species. Hens desert their nest because of flooding or brood parasitism by redheads and other canvasbacks. Heavy rains on small potholes or wind tides on large marshes often raise the water faster than the hens are able to build up the nest platforms [1]. REFERENCES : NO-ENTRY


WILDLIFE SPECIES: Aythya valisineria
DIRECT FIRE EFFECTS ON ANIMALS : Canvasback nests can be destroyed by fire during the nesting season [5]. During a spring fire in the Manitoba pothole region a canvasback nest was destroyed by fire that swept over emergent vegetation. The nest was located 25 feet (7.6 m) from dry land in 24 inches (64 cm) of water [5]. Ducklings and molting adults are vulnerable to fire. Nonmolting adults can probably easily escape fire. HABITAT RELATED FIRE EFFECTS : Fire can remove canvasback nesting cover [5]. Large-scale autumn burning may have a detrimental effect upon marshes by reducing the retention of drifting snow, which adds heavily to spring run-off. The ability of marsh vegetation to catch and hold snow is vital to marsh survival [17]. Fire can also improve the habitat for canvasbacks. Fire often removes excessive accumulations of fast-growing hydrophytes, permitting better waterfowl access and growth of more desirable duck foods [16]. FIRE USE : Fire can be used to remove fast-growing, undesirable species and increase desirable canvasback foods such as pondweed [15]. Controlled burning can also be used to create nesting edge for ducks. Removal of dense vegetation and woody encroachment is vital if prairie marshes are to remain in this successional state [17]. According to Ward [17], spring burning in marshlands is primarily done to remove vegetation and create more nesting edge. Summer fires are used to create more permanent changes in the plant community. Burning should be completed well before or after the nesting season to avoid destroying nesting cover and nests of canvasbacks [17]. Land managers who burn during the nesting season should consider partial burns. Partial burns will probably have less impact on total vegetation changes but should result in higher recruitment of waterfowl than would complete burning [18]. FIRE REGIMES : Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes". REFERENCES : NO-ENTRY


WILDLIFE SPECIES: Aythya valisineria
REFERENCES : 1. Bellrose, Frank C. 1980. Ducks, geese and swans of North America. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole Books. 3rd ed. 540 p. [19802] 2. Bernard, Stephen R.; Brown, Kenneth F. 1977. Distribution of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians by BLM physiographic regions and A.W. Kuchler's associations for the eleven western states. Tech. Note 301. Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 169 p. [434] 3. DeGraaf, Richard M.; Scott, Virgil E.; Hamre, R. H.; [and others]. 1991. Forest and rangeland birds of the United States: Natural history and habitat use. Agric. Handb. 688. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 625 p. [15856] 4. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905] 5. Fritzell, Erik K. 1975. Effects of agricultural burning on nesting waterfowl. Canadian Field-Naturalist. 89: 21-27. [14635] 6. Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; [and others]. 1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p. [998] 7. Hochbaum, H. Albert. 1959. The canvasback on a prairie marsh. Harrisburg, PA: The Stackpole Company. 207 p. [20639] 8. Johnsgard, Paul A. 1979. A guide to North American waterfowl. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. 274 p. [20026] 9. Johnson, Douglas H.; Grier, James W. 1988. Determinants of breeding distribution of ducks. Wildlife Monographs. 100: 1-37. [21350] 10. Korschgen, Carl E.; George, Louis S.; Green, William L. 1988. Feeding ecology of canvasbacks staging on Pool 7 of the Upper Mississippi River. In: Weller, Milton W., ed. Waterfowl in winter. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press: 237-249. [20640] 11. Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York: American Geographical Society. 77 p. [1384] 12. Madge, Steve; Burn, Hilary. 1988. Waterfowl: An indentification guide to the ducks, geese and swans of the world. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company. 298 p. [20029] 13. Martz, Gerald F. 1967. Effects of nesting cover removal on breeding puddle ducks. Journal of Wildlife Management. 31(2): 236-247. [16284] 14. Musgrove, Jack W.; Musgrove, Mary R. 1943. Waterfowl in Iowa. Des Moines, IA: State Convservation Committee. 113 p. + index. [20028] 15. Schlichtemeier, Gary. 1967. Marsh burning for waterfowl. In: Proceedings, 6th annual Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1967 March 6-7; Tallahassee, FL. No. 6. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 40-46. [16450] 16. Vogl, Richard J. 1967. Controlled burning for wildlife in Wisconsin. In: Proceedings, 6th annual Tall Timbers Fire Ecology Conference; 1967 March 6-7; Tallahassee, FL. No. 6. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 47-96. [18726] 17. Ward, P. 1968. Fire in relation to waterfowl habitat of the delta marshes. In: Proceedings, annual Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1968 March 14-15; Tallahassee, FL. No. 8. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 255-267. [18932] 18. Kruse, Arnold D.; Piehl, James L. 1986. The impact of prescribed burning on ground-nesting birds. In: Clambey, Gary K.; Pemble, Richard H., eds. The prairie: past, present and future: Proceedings, 9th North American prairie conference; 1984 July 29 - August 1; Moorhead, MN. Fargo, ND: Tri-College University Center for Environmental Studies: 153-156. [3561] 19. Donohoe, Robert W. 1974. American hornbeam Carpinus caroliniana Walt. In: Gill, John D.; Healy, William M., eds. Shrubs and vines for northeastern wildlife. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-9. Upper Darby, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station: 86-88. [13714] 20. Tate, James, Jr. 1986. The Blue List for 1986. American Birds. 40(2): 227-235. [24324]

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