eWestern Birds

The Quarterly Journal of Western Field Ornithologists

Vol. 52, No. 4
November 2021
Western Field Ornithologists

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Fall Waterfowl Use of Bridgeport Reservoir, Mono County, California
Deborah J. House

ABSTRACT: Aerial surveys from 2003 to 2019 documented the abundance of waterfowl at Bridgeport Reservoir in Mono County, California, from September through mid-November. Waterfowl totals at Bridgeport Reservoir averaged 33,106 ± 4050 (standard error) in the fall. Annual peak counts averaged 10,474 ± 1349, ranging from a low of 2583 in 2014 to the highest single-day count of 23,150 in 2005. Bridgeport Reservoir is a man-made water body in the intermountain West that waterfowl use primarily a mid-migration stopover site, with peak numbers occurring in September. The dominant waterfowl species, the Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata), Gadwall (Mareca strepera), Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), Northern Pintail (A. acuta), and Green-winged Teal (A. crecca), showed both unimodal and bimodal migration chronologies. Regional drought, as indicated by the Palmer drought severity index, combined with a downward trend in waterfowl numbers explained 61.4% of annual variation in fall waterfowl totals. These data may allow future assessment of change in waterfowl abundance at Bridgeport Reservoir in the context of local or regional conditions, and as influenced by climate change.

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