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Management 

Division 



RESOURCE STATUS AND 
ASSESSMENT BRANCH 



Harlequin Duck 
Monitoring in the 
Northern East Slopes of 
Alberta: 1998-2000 
Preliminary Results 

Jeff Kneteman and Anne Hubbs 




Alberta Species at Risk Report No. 11 



/dlbcna 

SUSTAINABLE RESOURCE 
DEVELOPMENT 




Harlequin Duck Monitoring in the 
Northern East Slopes of Alberta: 1998- 
2000 Preliminary Results 

Jeff Kneteman and Anne Hubbs 



Alberta Species at Risk Report No. 11 
December 2000 
Project Partners: 



Liberia 







SUSTAINABLE RESOURCE 
DEVELOPMENT 



'^die^ 



Publication No.: 1/013 
ISBN: 0-7785-1771-3 (Printed Edition) 
ISBN: 0-7785-1772-1 (On-line Edition) 
ISSN: 1496-7219 (Printed Edition) 
ISSN: 1496-7146 (On-line Edition) 



Illustration: Brian Huffman 



This publication may be cited as: 

Kneteman, Jeff and Anne Hubbs. 2000. Harlequin duck monitoring in the northern east 
slopes of Alberta: 1998-2000 preliminary results. Alberta Sustainable Resource 
Development. Fisheries and Wildlife Management Division, Alberta Species at Risk 
Report No. 11, Edmonton, AB. 



HARLEQUIN DUCK MONITORING IN THE NORTHEASTERN SLOPES OF ALBERTA: 1998-2000; 

PRELIMINARY RESULTS 



October 2000 Jeff Kneteman and Anne Hubbs 

ABSTRACT 

Aerial surveys for harlequin ducks {Histrionicus histrionicus ) were conducted in the spring of 1998-2000 in the 
McLeod and Cardinal River watersheds, and in 10 watersheds in the Willmore Wilderness Park. Ground and aerial 
surveys of broods occurred in August and September 2000, respectively along the Sulphur and Berland Rivers. The 
objectives of the surveys were 1) to assess the utility of aerial surveys in censusing harlequin duck populations, and 
2) to determine presence, relative abundance, population trends, distribution, and productivity of harlequin ducks in 
selected watersheds. Visibility from the air was approximately^ 70% that from the ground during spring surveys of 
the McLeod watershed in 1998 and 2000 compared with only 13-27% in 1999 when lighting conditions were poor. 
These results indicate that aerial surveys can be an effective method of censusing harlequin ducks when lighting 
conditions are favourable. Spring numbers were relatively high in the McLeod- Whitehorse, Berland, and Sulphur 
watersheds (approximately > 40 birds) followed by the Muskeg, Sheep-Cote, Muddywater-Fetherstonhaugh, and 
Jackpine watersheds (approximately > 15 birds). Relatively few birds were observed on the Smoky, Cardinal, Little 
Berland, Wildhay Rivers, and Hardscrabble Creek (< 15 birds). When watersheds were flown in more than one year, 
the number and distribution of birds were consistent across years for all watersheds except the Muskeg River in 
which 15 mere birds were seen in 1998 (23) than in 2000 (8). During ground surveys in August 2000, two broods 
with 5 young each were observed on the West and South Sulphur Rivers. Four broods (three with 7 young, one with 
four young) were recorded on the South and North Berland Rivers. During aerial surveys in September 2000, four 
broods (all with 4 young) were observed cm the Sulphur River and five broods (total of 22 young) were observed on 
the Berland Rivers. Unlike ground surveys, aerial surveys included the mainstems of these rivers. Based on aerial 
survey results, 18% of females observed in the spring produced broods on the Sulphur River compared with 23% on 
the Berland River. Female reproductive output (number of ducklings per number of females observed in spring) was 
0.73 and 1.00 for the Sulphur and Berland watersheds, respectively. Productivity in these watersheds was, on 
average, lower than that reported for the McLeod- Whitehorse watershed and the Kananaskis and Elbow Rivers in 
Kananaskis Country, but was higher than on the Bow River in Banff National Park. 



INTRODUCTION 

The harlequin duck is a relatively rare seaduck that breeds and nests in low densities in fast- flowing mountain 
streams. Like other seaducks, it is characterized by low productivity, delayed breeding, and a long lifespan (Goudie 
et al. 1994). As a result, even low levels of human-induced mortality or reduced productivity may have serious 
negative effects on populations. The well-being of harlequin ducks is dependent upon water clarity, non-polluted 



Page 1 



waters with abundant macroinvertebrate populations and possibly relatively undisturbed native habitat for nesting. 
Potential factors that have lead to population declines and endangered species status of eastern populations include 
destruction and degradation of habitats from forestry and resource extraction industries, and disturbance from 
recreational activities (Montevecchi et al. 1995). Population declines have also been reported for western 
populations (Robertson and Goudie 1999). Harlequin ducks are a species of concern requiring special management 
attention in Oregon, Washington, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, British Columbia, and Alberta. Harlequin ducks are 
classified as Yellow "A" in Alberta because of long-term declines and restricted distribution (The Status of Alberta 
Wildlife 1996). 

In the eastern slopes region of Alberta, knowledge on population sizes, productivity, and distribution of this 
species is limited. Biological and ecological research has occurred primarily in national and provincial parks to 
assist assessment of recreation and road development influences (Jasper, Banff, Peter Lougheed, Kananaskis 
Country- Hunt 1998, Smith 1998, 1999, 2000a,b). Outside parks, Cardinal River Coals Ltd. (CRC) has sponsored 
monitoring in the McLeod and Cardinal River watersheds from 1995-2000 to examine population demographics, 
and response to mining activity (MacCallum 1997; MacCallum and Bugera 1998; MacCallum et al. 1999; 
MacCallum and Godsalve 2000). Mining proposals include pit, dump and road development, culvert installation and 
stream diversion and infill in the upper McLeod River watershed. Research and monitoring chi harlequin ducks has 
involved instream (ground) surveys, banding, radio-telemetry, and behavioral observations. 

Ground surveys can be time-consuming, expensive, difficult in remote areas and can require substantial 
manpower to complete data collection within the short period of each reproductive life stage of the harlequin duck, 
particularly if multiple streams are to be assessed. Aerial surveys to assess spring presence of adults were conducted 
in the central and northern eastern slopes of Alberta, outside of the National Parks, in 1998 and 1999 (Gregoire 
et.al.,1999, Gregoire 2000). Surveys identified harlequin duck distribution as patchy, at low densities with 
concentrations in the Willmore Wilderness Park area (>200 ducks), approximately 40% of observations were on the 
Berland and Sulphur Rivers; in the upper McLeod River watershed (> 70 ducks)(see also MacCallum 1999 and 
MacCallum and Godsalve 2000) and the upper North Saskatchewan Drainage (> 60 ducks), with populations 
predominately occurring in the Blackstone-Wapiabi (>30 ducks). North Ram (> 15 ducks) and Cardinal (< 15 
ducks) Rivers. The Bow-Kananaskis-Elbow Rivers complex (>200 ducks) (Smith 2000a, b) is the only reported 
population concentration in southern Alberta. Small numbers (typically 1-5) of harlequin ducks have been reported 
in a number (>200) of mountain and foothill streams (Alberta Environment in prep.). Ducks that are observed 
throughout the year on smaller streams or in smaller populations are not necessarily independent of numbers that are 
observed on streams of known spring concentration. The upper McLeod River supports the highest reported single 
stream population and concentration in Alberta, other than the Bow River in Banff National Park. 

From 1998-2000, Alberta Environment and the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) conducted aerial surveys of 
the Mcleod and Cardinal River watersheds and selected streams within the Willmore Wilderness Park area. In 
addition, ground surveys for broods were initiated in 2000 on the Sulphur and Berland Rivers by Alberta 
Environment. The objectives of these surveys were 1) to assess the utility of aerial surveys in censusing harlequin 



Page 2 



duck populations, and 2) to determine presence, relative abundance, population trends, distribution, and productivity 
of harlequin ducks in selected watersheds. 



METHODS 

Spring surveys were conducted in late May-early June during the early breeding season, when adults are 
concentrated on main river stems, on 19 rivers comprising 12 watersheds (Table 1). Sixteen of the river sections 
surveyed were located within Willmore Wilderness Park. The remaining three rivers (McLeod, Cardinal and 
Whitehorse Creek) were situated in the Coal Branch Region near Cadomin townsite and approximately 50-70 km 
south of Hinton. The McLeod River and Whitehorse Creek were flown every year on one of the days that CRC 
conducted ground surveys over a 2-3 day period. In total, the number of watersheds surveyed each year was 6 in 
both 1998 and 1999, and 8 in 2000 (Appendix, Figs 1-3). Five watersheds (Cardinal, Little Berland, Hardscrabble, 
Smoky, Jackpine) were surveyed only once from 1998-2000 (Table 1). The remaining 6 watersheds (excluding 
McLeod- Whitehorse) were surveyed every second year (Table 1). The total number of hours flown in the spring was 
11.9, 15.5 and 11.7 in 1998, 1999, and 2000, respectively. 

Brood surveys were flown on September 8, 2000 on the West and South Sulphur Rivers, and the South and 
North Berland Rivers (total of 3.7 hrs). 

A Bell 206B Jet Ranger helicopter was flown approximately 30m above the water at an average speed of 55 
km/hr. Streams were flown primarily in an upstream direction, although occasionally streams were flown in a 
downstream direction to minimize flying hours. Streams were flown until the headwaters were reached or vegetation 
and channel constriction markedly obscured visibility. The left front passenger was responsible for navigating and 
observing while the rear right passenger observed and recorded onto field data sheets. Global Positioning System 
(GPS) locations were recorded for start and end survey points and for all duck observations. In addition, the number 
of ducks and group composition (pairs, single male or female, ducklings with or without a female) was noted. 

Flights were conducted between 10:00-16:00 when viewing conditions were generally most favourable, except on 
the McLeod- Whitehorse survey in 1999. 

Instream brood surveys occurred between August 8-10, 2000 on the West and South Sulphur Rivers, and the 
South and North Berland Rivers (4.0 helicopter hours, 20 mandays). Two and 3 people surveyed the Berland Rivers 
and Sulphur Rivers respectively by walking instream or on the immediate shoreline. Birds were either identified 
using the naked eye or with the aid of 8 x 40 binoculars. GPS locations were recorded for start and end survey points 
and all duck observations. The number of ducks and group composition (single female, female with ducklings, 
ducklings alone) was noted. 



RESULTS 

Visibility 

Two estimates of visibility from the air were calculated by comparing aerial and ground survey results on the 
McLeod- Whitehorse watershed. The first estimate used the percentage of total birds observed from the air divided 



Page 3 



by the number seen from the ground. Visibility from the air was approximately > 70% that from the ground during 
spring surveys of the McLeod- Whitdiorse watershed in 1998 and 2000 compared with only 13-27% in 1999 (Table 
2). Moreover, 6-7 more ducks were observed on Whitehorse Creek from the air than from the ground in 2000 
(Table 2). Visibility did not differ between males and females in any consistent pattern. The 1 st ground survey of the 
McLeod- Whitehorse in 2000 was conducted simultaneously with the aerial survey. Aerial visibility on that portion 
of the aerial survey length corresponding to the ground survey represented 83%, 300% and 96% of ground 
observations on the McLeod, Whitdiorse and McLeod- Whitehorse respectively. Observations from the lengthier 
total aerial survey section (Table 3) represented 1 14% and 95% of observations from the 1 st and 2 nd ground surveys 
(Table 2) respectively of the McLeod- Whitehorse watershed. 

The second estimate used the percentage of birds observed from the air divided by an estimate of population size 
from ground mark-resighting data. Fifty one percent and 25% of the mark-resight estimated population was 
observed from the air in the McLeod- Whitehorse watershed in 1998 and 1999, respectively (Table 2). Mark-resight 
population estimates are not yet available for 2000. Mark-resight population estimates also included ducks observed 
on the Luscar, Drummond Creek, Harlequin, Prospect, Cheviot, Unnamed "J", Harris, and Thorton Creeks. 

It was not possible to obtain an estimate of visibility from brood surveys. Aerial surveys occurred approximately 
one month after ground surveys and some birds may have died or migrated during the intervening period. However, 
aerial surveys located 7 broods (Sept. 8) on stream sections where ground surveys located 6 broods (Aug. 8-10) 
(Table 4). 

Spring Numbers and Distribution 

Spring numbers (Table 3) were relatively high in the McLeod- Whitehorse, Berland, and Sulphur watersheds 
(approximately > 40 birds) followed by the Muskeg, Sheep-Cote, Muddywater-Fetherstonhaugh, and Jackpine 
watersheds (approximately > 15 birds). Relatively few birds were observed on the Smoky, Cardinal, Little Berland, 
Wildhay Rivers, and Hardscrabble Creek (< 15 birds). When watersheds were flown in more than one year, the 
number of birds was consistent across years for all watersheds except die Muskeg River in which 15 more birds 
were seen in 1998 (23) than in 2000 (8). Fewer birds were also seen in 1999 than 1998 or 2000 on the McLeod- 
Whitehorse watershed. In general, sex ratios were male biased and pairs comprised 57-100% of the birds seen on a 
specific stream (excluding 4 stream sections where 0 or 1 duck was seen). Pairs represented >70%, >80% and >90% 
of ducks observed on 92.5%, 62.5% and 12.5% respectively of surveyed streams where more than 1 duck was 
observed. 

The distribution of ducks in each watershed is shown for each year in figures 4-16 (see Appendix). The 
distribution of ducks was generally clumped within a river and was consistent across years for most watersheds 
surveyed in more than one year (Figs 10, 13, 17 - 20, Appendix). On the McLeod River, the greatest concentration 
of ducks occurred downstream of Whitehorse Creek in all years. Similarly, most ducks were observed in the 
downstream stretch (below Harlequin Creek) on Whitehorse Creek in 1998-2000. Ducks were also concentrated in 
downstream stretches on die south and north Berland Rivers, the Muskeg River (near a la Peche Lake area), and the 
mainstem of the Sulphur River in all years surveyed. In contrast, ducks were distributed along the entire survey 



Page 4 



length on the West Sulphur River. On the Wildhay most observations occurred between Seep and Eagle Nest 
Creeks. The distribution pattern was similarly clumped across all years on the Sheep-Cote and the Muddywater- 
Fetherstonhaugh watersheds. 

Brood surveys 

The results of aerial and ground brood surveys are shown in Table 4. During ground surveys in August 2000, 
two broods with 5 young each were observed on the West and South Sulphur Rivers. Four broods (three with 7 
young, one with four young) were recorded on the South and North Borland Rivers. During aerial surveys in 
September 2000, four broods (all with 4 young) were observed on the Sulphur River and five broods (total of 22 
young) were observed on the Berland Rivers. Unlike ground surveys, aerial surveys included the mainstems of these 
rivers. The distribution of broods during aerial and ground surveys is shown in figures 21-24 (see Appendix). 

Productivity was estimated using the number of females observed in the spring, rather than the number of pairs 
because females are a limiting sex and it is not always possible to assess pair status from the air. This methodology 
has also been employed by Smith (2000a,b) for Banff National Park and Kananaskis Country. Based on aerial 
survey results (Table 5), 18% of females observed in the spring produced broods on the Sulphur River compared 
with 23% on the Berland River. Female reproductive output (number of ducklings per number of females observed 
in spring) was 0.73 and 1.00 for the Sulphur and Berland watersheds, respectively. Productivity in these watersheds 
was, on average, lower than that reported for the McLeod- Whitehorse watershed and the Kananaskis and Elbow 
Rivers in Kananaskis Country, but was higher than on the Bow River in Banff National Park (Table 5). 

DISCUSSION 

The results of this investigation indicate that aerial surveys can be an effective method of censusing 
harlequin ducks. Visibility from the air was approximately > 70% that from the ground during spring surveys of the 
McLeod- Whitehorse watershed in 1998 and 2000 (Table 2). Moreover, 6-7 more ducks were also observed on 
Whitehorse Creek from the air than from the ground in 2000 (Table 2). There was also consistency between years in 
the number of ducks recorded on most streams that were flown in multiple years in Willmore Wilderness Park 
(Table 3). In the future, it is proposed to fly streams more than once within a given reproductive stage of the ducks 
(e.g. breeding, post-hatching, pre-migration) to determine within-year variance associated with aerial survey results 
and to obtain population estimates. If this variance is low after only a few flights, aerial surveys will be a more time 
and cost effective method of censusing harlequin ducks than ground surveys, even on easily accessible streams. A 
ground survey of the road accessible McLeod- Whitehorse watershed required 2-3 days to complete with 3 
people/day (without banding birds and associated costs and time) compared with 1.9 hrs to fly the lengthier aerial 
survey section. A duck is also less likely to be counted more than once in a single aerial than ground survey because 
harlequin ducks rarely fly in front of the helicopter and observers can follow the path of flying ducks. Harlequin 
ducks respond to helicopters by moving to stream centers, wing flapping and diving with immediate resurfacing, 
rendering them highly visible to observers. Aerial surveys can also be performed in locations where ground surveys 
are difficult because of strong water currents, dense vegetation, or manpower costs are high to reach remote streams. 



Page 5 



Also, given that aerial surveys can include the entire watercourse, the issue of closure that is assumed when 
estimating population size from mark-resighting data can be overcome. Aerial surveys of the McLeod River have 
indicated that ducks occur outside of the area surveyed from the ground and thus, population estimates from ground 
surveys may violate the closure assumption. In 1998, 1999 and 2000 2, 5 and 9 ducks respectively (4%, 8%, 16-19% 
of ground counts) (table 2&3) were observed by aerial surveys outside of ground survey sections. 

Aerial surveys are effective provided the stream has a wide enough channel for the helicopter to fly below 
tree height or provided a narrow channel is not treed to the water edge. Aerial surveys were attempted in 1999 on the 
Gregg River and Drinnan Creek, but no ducks were observed possibly because narrow channels with trees to the 
channel edge obscured visibility. Flat lighting conditions are also preferred for surveying from the air because bright 
lighting may make it difficult to distinguish ducks from background. Visibility from the air was only 13-27% in 
1999 on the McLeod- Whitehorse watershed (Table 2) when lighting conditions were bright. 

Aerial census requires more rigorous testing of precision. However, initial results are promising that 
harlequin duck censusing can substantially be expanded in geographic scope and stream specific continuity and 
intensity. When assessing the relative costs of aerial versus ground survey the costs of marking (banding or radio- 
telemetry) birds may or may not be a significant consideration. Aerial census appears suitable for determining 
population size estimates, adult sex composition, course (stream by stream) and fine (stream section) scale 
distribution and annual reproductive rate. When ground surveys using marked birds provides just the same 
information that aerial surveys provide, the cost of marking should be considered in the cost assessment. Costs of 
marking may not be a significant additional cost of ground surveys when individual identification of birds by ground 
surveys provides substantive determination of population parameters not discemable by aerial surveys. Such 
parameters include annual survival, longevity, annual rate of return, fidelity to stream or stream section, age of first 
reproduction, frequency of reproduction, between year variability in individual productivity or lifetime reproductive 
output. 

The number of harlequin ducks in the spring (Table 3) was relatively high in the McLeod- Whitehorse, 
Berland, and Sulphur watersheds (approximately > 40 birds) followed by the Muskeg, Sheep-Cote, Muddywater- 
Fetherstonhaugh, and Jackpine watersheds (approximately > 15 birds). Relatively few birds were observed on the 
Smoky, Cardinal, Little Berland, Wildhay Rivers, and Hardscrabble Creek (< 15 birds). In comparison, the highest 
number of ducks observed during instream surveys on the Bow River in Banff National Park from 1995-99 was 132 
(77 males, 55 females) for a density of 4.3 ducks per km (Smith 2000a). Population estimates from mark-resighting 
data ranged from 111-157 ducks from 1995-99 on the Bow River (Smith 2000a) compared with an estimated 78.5 + 
6.8 sd and 68.0 + 2 sd in the McLeod- Whitehorse watershed in 1998 and 1999, respectively (MacCallum et al. 1999; 
MacCallum and Godsalve 2000). Population estimates were higher for the McLeod- Whitehorse watershed than the 
Elbow and Kananaskis Rivers in Kananaskis Country (12-28 and 41-43 ducks, respectively; Smith 2000b). In the 
future, population size should be estimated for watersheds in Willmore Wilderness Park by flying streams more than 
once within a year. Density estimates will also be available for existing data once survey distances have been 
determined using the WAM / HAGIS model. Density will be determined using first, total survey length and second, 
distance from the first to last duck. Density estimated u^u^tgtal survey length will be biased by where surveys 



began and ended, but will provide an overall estimate for a given watershed. By instead measuring survey length 
from the first to last duck, density will be estimated for a greater proportion of suitable harlequin duck habitat 

The distribution of ducks was patchily distributed within a river and was consistent across years for most 
watersheds surveyed in more than one year (Figs 10, 13, 17 - 20, Appendix). A patchy distribution in conjunction 
with low densities, restricted use of habitats, and low productivity support the classification of harlequin ducks as a 
sensitive species requiring special management considerations. Smith (2000a) made a series of recommendations 
for managing harlequin ducks in the Bow River system and some of these could be applied to the McLeod- 
Whitehorse watershed and streams in Willmore Wilderness Park. General recommendations include monitoring the 
macroinvertebrate prey base, determining breeding status of streams that are listed as probable or unknown, and 
establishing criteria for the construction and design of bridges and culverts in streams with harlequins. Further 
research in the McLeod- Whitehorse watershed and Willmore Wilderness Park could include an assessment of 
stream characteristics at duck observation sites using the WAM / HAGIS model and additional surveying of smaller 
streams. It is possible that changes in population size would occur first in these small tributaries of lower quality 
habitat rather than in larger higher quality rivers. However, small streams used by harlequin duck for nesting or 
brooding are expected to support 1-2 pairs making assessment of change difficult. 

Based on aerial survey results, 18% of females observed in the spring produced broods on the Sulphur River 
compared with 23% on the Bo-land River. Female reproductive output was 0.73 and 1.00 for the Sulphur and 
Berland watersheds, respectively. Productivity in these watersheds was, on average, lower than that reported for the 
McLeod- Whitehorse watershed and the Kananaskis and Elbow Rivers in Kananaskis Country, but was higher than 
on the Bow River in Banff National Park (Table 5). We propose that in the future, female productivity continue to 
be monitored in the McLeod- Whitehorse watershed and the Willmore Wilderness Park using current methods and 
consistent stream sections across years. If funding permits, an additional aerial survey in August may be included to 
estimate hatching success. 

In summary, aerial surveys can be a time and cost effective alternative to ground surveying for censusing 
harlequin ducks. Population estimates from the McLeod- Whitehorse watershed were higher than those for the 
Elbow and Kananaskis Rivers in Kananaskis Country, but lower than for the Bow River in Banff National Park. 
Population size will be estimated in the future for watersheds in Willmore Wilderness Park. Productivity in the 
Sulphur and Berland River watersheds was, on average, higher than that reported for the Bow River, but lower than 
on the McLeod- Whitehorse watershed and Kananaskis Country. 



Page 7 



RECOMMENDATIONS 



The following recommendations are not listed in order of priority. 

1) It is recommended that aerial surveys continue in the McLeod- Whitehorse watershed, the Cardinal River, and the 
10 watersheds previously surveyed in Willmore Wilderness Park. These surveys should occur annually in the 
McLeod- Whitehorse watershed and every 2 or 3 years in the remaining watersheds. All surveys should use 
consistent stream sections across years. 

2) Aerial surveys should occur during breeding and brooding periods (late May-early June and August- September) 
to determine relative abundance, population trends, distribution, and productivity. Additional aerial and ground 
surveys should be conducted in August approximately three weeks post-hatching to assess hatching success. 

3) Within a given year, streams should be flown more than once during breeding and brooding periods to determine 
with in-year variance associated with aerial survey results and to obtain population estimates. Should funding permit, 
multiple flights should also occur approximately three weeks after hatching. 

4) Locations of observations from different replicates in the same survey sequence on the same survey section 
should be analysed for consistency of location and group size and composition to assist understanding of prevalence 
of missed birds. 

5) Early September brood assessments cn the McLeod- Whitehorse watershed are required to render productivity 
estimates comparable to results available from the Bow, Elbow and Kananaskis Rivers and the Willmore Wilderness 
Park area. 

6) Further research in the McLeod- Whitehorse watershed and Willmore Wilderness Park should include an 
assessment of stream characteristics at duck observation sites using the WAM / HAGIS model and additional 
surveying of smaller streams in the future. It is possible that changes in population size would be evident first in 
these small tributaries of lower quality habitat rather than in larger higher quality rivers. 

7) The raw data from ground surveys of the McLeod- Whitehorse watershed should be reviewed to determine the 
rate at which marked birds are observed more than once during the same survey on subsequent days or along 
different stream sections. If marked birds are recorded more than once in a survey, the number of unmarked birds 
should be adjusted by a similar ratio as well. This will affect the total number of ducks reported and subsequent 
population estimates. 

8) Assessment and determination of whether there is significance to non-convergence of female breeding success 
estimates derived from radio-tagged females versus non-telemetry females, as noted by Smith (2000a, pg. 46) and 
detected in data presented by MacCallum and Godsalve (2000 pg. 10 and 12, table 2) should be considered. 



ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 

This work was a collaboration between the Natural Resource Service (NRS) of Alberta Environment and 
the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS). We thank the pilot John Bell of Peregrine Helicopters and Beth MacCallum 



Page 8 



of Bighorn Environmental Design Ltd. and her team for cooperation in ground-truthing the McLeod- Whitehorse 
watershed. Jeff Kneteman (NRS), Paul Gregoire (CWS), and Anne Hubbs (NRS) conducted aerial surveys. The 
authors, Rudy Hawryluk, Kirby Smith, and Jan Fitch conducted ground surveys. Funding was provided by 
Environment Canada Environmental Assessment Research and Development Fund Committee, the Alberta 
Conservation Association (ACA) and Alberta Environment, Natural Resources Service, Fisheries and Wildlife 
Management Division. Alberta Environment, Lands and Forest Service provided aircraft fiiel. 



LITERATURE CITED 

Alberta Environment in prep. Status of the Harlequin duck ( Histrionicus histrionicus) in Alberta. Prepared for 
Alberta Environment, Fisheries and Wildlife Management Division and the Alberta Conservation Association. 
Goudie, R.I., Brault, S., Conant, B., Kondratyev, A.V., Petersen, M.R, and Vermeer, K. 1994. The status of sea 
ducks in north Pacific Rim: toward their conservation and management. Trans. North Am. Wildl. Nat. Resource 
Conf. 59: 27-49. 

Gregoire P, J. Kneteman and J. Allen 1999. Harlequin Duck Surveys in the Central Eastern Slopes of Alberta; 

Spring 1998. Canadian Wildlife Service Technical Report Series No. 329. Canadian Wildlife Service, Prairie and 
Northern Region, Alberta 

Gregoire P. 2000. Harlequin Duck surveys in the eastern slopes of Alberta, preliminary results 1998,1999. 
Proceedings of the Fifth Harlequin Duck Symposium, March 16 th and 17 th , 2000, Blaine, WA. Washington 
Department of Fish and Wildlife. 

Hunt, W.A 1998. The ecology of Harlequin Ducks {Histrionicus histrionicus ) breeding in Jasper National Park, 
Canada. MSc. Thesis, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby. 

MacCallum, B. 1997. The abundance, distribution, and life history of the Harlequin Duck {Histrionicus histrionicus) 
in the McLeod River and adjacent streams of the Alberta foothills: 1996 progress report for the Cheviot Harlequin 
Duck study. Bighorn Environmental Design, Hinton, Alta. 

MacCallum, B. and Bugera, M. 1998. Harlequin duck use of the McLeod River watershed: 1997 progress report for 
the Cheviot Harlequin Duck study. Bighorn Environmental Design, Hinton, Alta. 

MacCallum, B. and Godsalve, B. 2000. The Cheviot Harlequin Duck study summary 1999. Bighorn Environmental 
Design, Hinton, Alta. 

MacCallum, B., Godsalve B., and Bugera, M. 1999. Harlequin duck use of the McLeod River watershed: 1998 
progress report for the Cheviot Harlequin Duck study. Bighorn Environmental Design, Hinton, Alta. 

Montevecchi, W.A., Brazil, J., Hutchinson, A.E., Johnson, B.C, Laporte, P., McCollough, MA., Milton, R, and 
Seymour, N. 1995. National recovery plan for the harlequin duck in eastern North America. Report No. 12. 
Recovery of Nationally Endangered Wildlife Committee, 30 pp. 

Robertson, G.J. and Goudie, RI. 1999. Harlequin Duck {Histrionicus histrionicus). IN Poole, A. and Gill, F. (eds). 
The Birds of North America, No. 466. The Birds of North America Inc., Philadelphia. 

Smith, C.M 1998. BanffNational Park Harlequin Duck research project: 1997 progress report. Parks Canada, 



Page 9 



Banff, Alberta. 

Smith, C.M 1999a. Banff National Park Harlequin Duck research project: 1998 progress report. Parks Canada, 
Banff, Alberta. 

Smith, C.M. 1999b. Harlequin Duck research in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, in 1998: Kananaskis River and 
Elbow 

River. Unpubl. Tech. Report, Alberta Natural Resources Service, Canmore, AB. 

Smith, C.M. 2000a. Population dynamics and breeding ecology of Harlequin Ducks in Banff National Park, 
Alberta, 1995-99. Unpubl. Tech. Report. Parks Canada, Banff National Park, Banf£ Alberta. 

Smith, C.M. 2000b. Harlequin Duck research in Kananaskis Country in 1999. Unpubl. Tech. Report, Alberta 
Natural Resources Service, Canmore, AB. 

The Status of Alberta Wildlife. 1996. Alberta Environmental Protection, Natural Resource Service, Wildlife 
Management Division. 



APPENDIX 



The following maps are in projection UTM 1 1 NAD 83. 



Page 1 1 



Table 1 Watersheds surveyed in 1998-2000 



Type of Survey 




O) 

c 

’l_ 

Q. 

CO 


Spring ! 


Spring | 


I Spring & Brood I 


Spring & Brood 1 


Spring & Brood 1 


! Spring | 


CD 

C 

u 

CL 

CO 


I Spring & Brood | 


I Spring & Brood | 


I Spring & Brood | 


1 Spring 1 


1 Soring 1 


1 Spring 1 


1 Spring | 


1 Spring 1 


1 Spring 1 


L Spring 1 


1 Spring 1 




Aerial & Ground 1 ! 


Aerial & Ground 1 1 


Aerial ! 


Aerial 1 


Aerial & Ground ! 


Aerial & Ground ! 


Aerial j 


Aerial ! 


Aerial I 


Aerial & Ground ! 


[ Aerial & Ground | 


Aerial 


Aerial 


Aerial I 


Aerial i 


Aerial 


Aerial ! 


Aerial 


Aerial j 


Year(s) Surveyed 


i 2000 I 


X 


X 




X 


X 


X 




X 


X 


X 


X 


X 


X 






X 


X 


X 




j 1999 | 


X 


X 






















X 


X 


X 


X 


X 


X 


X 


I 1998 | 


X 


X 


X 


X 


X 


X 


X 


X 


X 


X 


X 


















Streams 




| McLeod River | 


1 Whitehorse Creek ! 


| Cardinal River 


! Mainstem of Berland River | 


! North Berland River | 


South Berland River ! 


| Little Berland River j 


Muskeg River 


Mainstem of Sulphur River 


1 South Sulphur River 


West Sulphur River j 


Hardscrabble Creek 


! Wildhay River 


Smoky River | 


Jackpine River | 


Sheep Creek 


Cote Creek i 


Muddywater River j 


Fetherstonhaugh Creek | 


Watershed 




McLeod-Whitehorse 


| Cardinal 


Berland 


! Little Berland I 


! Muskeg 


Sulphur 


Hardscrabble 


!! Wildhay 


1 Smoky ! 


! Jackpine ! 


Sheep-Cote 


Muddywater-Fetherstonhaugh 



>» 

-Q 

■o 

a> 

o 

3 

X3 

C 

o 

o 




Table 2 Comparison of Aerial & Ground Spring Survey Results in the McLeod Watershed, 1998-2000 



I O 



(0 

a 1 

w & 

3 | 

O = O Q. c 

Q- 5 2 » 

V® » © 



0 

n 

1 i 

> u. 



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> 



T3 

£ § 

= O ^ 

5»| 

<o 2 
> « 2 
* i 



° > 
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l 

>* 3 
►“ <0 



"" CO 
CO 



* ^ 
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>. 

| 1 



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1 1 
« « 
w E 

eg 



s? £ 

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s 



1 1 

co CO 

eg 



22 2P 

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3 3 

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eg 



2? ^ 



# £ 

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w w 

^ CM 



O 



SP * 

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21 



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88 

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Table 5 Productivity of Female Harlequin Ducks in Selected Watersheds in the Northeast Slopes of Alberta 



Ducklings / 
Female 


CO 

r- 

o 


1 LOO 1 




$ 

T— 


05 

h- 

T— 


i m i 


1 9S0 1 




! 0.44 !! 


S SL0 1 


o 

CM 

O 


T- 

co 

o 




m 

CM 


00 

in 


o 

o 

CM 


O 

o 

T— 


T“ 

r- 

o 


o 

■M- 

O 


# Ducklings 


CD 

T- 


a 




m 

in 


CO 


in 

CO 


00 




ID 

T“ 


M- 

CM 


CO 


in 




o 

T— 


D) 

T— 


O 


CO 


in 


CM 


# Broods / # 
Females In 
Spring (%) 


1 ™ 1 


1 m 1 




1 39.3 | 


i m i 


I 29.0 i 


in 

oi 




GO 

t“ 


O 

in 

CM 


O 

o 

CM 


CO 

CO 




1 ^ 1 


1 LR 1 


0- 


1 ! 


CO 

CO 

CM 


! 20.0 ! 


# Broods 
in August 
or Sept. 




in 




T“ 


Oi 


05 








00 


CO 


CO 




CO 


in 


C^- 


CO 


CM 




#of 

Females in 
Spring 


CM 

CM 


CM 

CM 




CO 

CM 


1 K 1 


T— 

CO 


CM 

CO 




1 1 


! ZZ | 


in 

T~ 


CD 

T— 




oo 


OJ 

T— 


in 


CO 


i^- 


m 


Year 


o 

o 

o 

CM 


2000 | 




1996 j 


| 1997 i 


1998 i 


1999 ! 




1996 ! 


1997 ! 


i 1998 j 


1999 | 




S 1998 : 


! 1999 I 


1996 | 


1997 | 


1998 | 


1999 | 


Type of Survey 


| Aerial j 


j Aerial j 




In stream 




In stream 




Instream 


Instream 


Source 


! This Report j 


| This Report ! 




MacCallum 2000 




Smith 2000a 




Smith 2000b 


Smith 2000b 


Watershed 


1 Sulphur River, Willmore Park | 


! Borland River, Willmore Park ! 




a> 

CO 

o 

JC 

0> 

-4-> 

1c 

? 

XJ 

o 

<D 

—I 

o 




Bow River, Banff Park 




Kananaskis River, Kananaskis Country 


Elbow River, Kananaskis Country 



I 0.87(0.7-1.0) | 


o 

CM 

CO 

o 

CO 

CO 


CO 

o 

1 

•a- 

o 

CO 

"3- 

o 


o 

CM 

i 

o 

CO 

■*— 










I 20.5(18-23) | 


1 29.6(13-39) 1 


1 18.9(12-25) I 


1 30.2 (20-42) | 










































ij Willmore Park j 


McLeod-Whitehorse i 


! Banff Park 


ii Kananaskis Country ! 



! 



Includes Luscar, Drummond, Harlequin, Prospect, Cheviot, Harris, Thorton, and Unnamed "J" Creeks. 



Appendix 1 - Harlequin duck spring surveys 1998 



Harlequin duck spring surveys 1998 





v*s 



90 Kilometers 



Appendix 2 - Harlequin duck spring surveys 1999 



Harlequin duck spring surveys 1999 




Whitehorse 



Appendix 3 



Harlequin duck spring surveys 2000 



Harlequin duck spring survey 2000 





120 Kilometers 



Appendix 4 - Harlequin spring surveys 1998 
McLeod watershed 



Harlequin spring surveys 1998: 
McLeod watershed 




2 Km 





Appendix 5 - Harlequin spring surveys 1999: 
McLeod watershed 



Harlequin spring surveys 1999: 
McLeod watershed 






























' Tin % 
















jhj. ‘f? f .* 








A;' ™ 









Appendix 6 - Harlequin spring surveys 2000: 
McLeod watershed 



Harlequin spring surveys 2000: 
McLeod watershed 




tit 



Appendix 7 - Harlequin spring surveys 1 998 
Cardinal watershed 



Harlequin spring surveys 1998: 
Cardinal watershed 




Appendix 8 - Harlequin spring surveys 1998 
Berland watershed 



Harlequin spring surveys 1998:Berland watershed 




Appendix 9 



Harlequin spring surveys 2000 
Berland watershed 



Harlequin spring surveys 2000:Berland watershed 




; ' WT'r 


r 


■ - £ m 














t$ 




Appendix 10 



Harlequin spring surveys: 
Muskeg watershed 




Harlequin spring surveys: 
Muskeg watershed 



Appendix 1 1 



Harlequin spring surveys 1 998 
Sulphur watershed 



Appendix 12 



Harlequin spring surveys 2000: 
Sulphur watershed 




' 



-m ' 






V 








mW/m ViiJSi jHrJ 


fA s-Jk 




V' J 




ppb. 






St A 




j| 

% 



k 1 


145 f 
ii 4 ili | 




7 Wj : %d 

» J7 A; = M? 

4$ p lM 


G¥i£S>' ( 

m <* 


3 1 


•••••# < 


^SBwBHT "‘•a 'sKt 
■ ■Hfct ■* ; 




*%$ 






■• * f JL 




W&ri&jt- SjffjvaRi; 



»» 


> v : >;. *,L.f^y jA 

’ . •..>, ^‘.- -y. ./ ••••■ : 


v ••• 






CfA ^s» 




RJv AjSM 







/**! 









Harlequin spring surveys 2000: 

Sulphur watershed 



Appendix 13 



Harlequin spring surveys 
Wildhay watershed 




H0&IQ UO 



■ • - 


m ^ 


Rt ^ 






Mfiyy® 


m 


pA; 1 




g.j:; ,^9 


||||| 


jj^£ JM 


























fh 


^ jwi 


















Spjfeii 












flA* - yj| 







Cl ., 




i o? ^ 

4 ■ f lit 

V ^ !•••[ 


□ male 

□ pair 

B Survey location 

A 1999 
A 2000 

*f; 2rspf^' ^ ^ r 



Harlequin spring surveys : Wildhay watershed 




Appendix 14 - Harlequin spring surveys 1999: 
Jackpine & Smoky Rivers 



Harlequin spring surveys 1999: 
Jackpine & Smoky Rivers 




I f 1 1 i|! 



i i 




Appendix 15 



Harlequin spring surveys 1999: 
Sheep watershed 



Harlequin spring surveys 1999: Sheep watershed 





Appendix 16 



Harlequin spring surveys 2000: 
Sheep watershed 



Harlequin spring surveys 2000:Sheep watershe 




Appendix 17 



Harlequin spring surveys: 
McLeod watershed 






« a ^fMI 








t ^ a®™##. 



Appendix 18 



Harlequin spring surveys: 
Berland watershed 



Harlequin spring surveys: Berland watershed 












■'.• y jJst 


Bfr ’ „ A ’ 


Pij-I, 






Appendix 19 



Harlequin spring surveys: 
Sulphur watershed 






M 

L w 




ILv 


\ W%% V\J 

>>> jl 


|| 








flfe- t 

IJs 


H jra 


!$&»• £2jgfy f- 








wfjr: -* 

w* 

\u£ -- 


v •* - 4 -siJffiSSi 

\.40 jjgF *•■•"' 

& ■ *L 


| - ' C-. 

1 



Harlequin spring surveys:Sulphur watershed 




Appendix 20 



Harlequin spring surveys: 
Sheep watershed 



Harlequin spring surveys: Sheep watershed 



1 1 




-3 

find 



Hi 





Appendix 2 1 



Brood ground surveys 2000: 
Berland watershed 



Brood ground surveys 2000:Berland watershed 




2 Km 



Appendix 22 



Brood aerial surveys 2000: 
Berland watershed 






| - a m ' 

f sbt J 






isM| 






Vdlii 


wy-- 


ay^ - *• 

j 







Appendix 23 



Brood ground surveys 2000: 
Sulphur watershed 




wm 




Appendix 24 - Brood aerial surveys 2000: 
Sulphur watershed 




Brood aerial surveys 2000: 
Sulphur watershed 








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