Wildlife Branch

Sacramento, CA, United States

Wildlife Branch

Sacramento, CA, United States
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Hull J.M.,University of California at Davis | Keane J.J.,Pacific Southwest Research Station | Savage W.K.,Lehigh University | Godwin S.A.,Ashland Resource Area | And 5 more authors.
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution | Year: 2010

Investigations of regional genetic differentiation are essential for describing phylogeographic patterns and informing management efforts for species of conservation concern. In this context, we investigated genetic diversity and evolutionary relationships among great gray owl (Strix nebulosa) populations in western North America, which includes an allopatric range in the southern Sierra Nevada in California. Based on a total dataset consisting of 30 nuclear microsatellite DNA loci and 1938-base pairs of mitochondrial DNA, we found that Pacific Northwest sampling groups were recovered by frequency and Bayesian analyses of microsatellite data and each population sampled, except for western Canada, showed evidence of recent population bottlenecks and low effective sizes. Bayesian and maximum likelihood phylogenetic analyses of sequence data indicated that the allopatric Sierra Nevada population is also a distinct lineage with respect to the larger species range in North America; we suggest a subspecies designation for this lineage should be considered (Strix nebulosa yosemitensis). Our study underscores the importance of phylogeographic studies for identifying lineages of conservation concern, as well as the important role of Pleistocene glaciation events in driving genetic differentiation of avian fauna.

Allen M.L.,Victoria University of Wellington | Allen M.L.,University of California at Davis | Allen M.L.,University of California at Santa Cruz | Elbroch L.M.,Panthera | And 3 more authors.
California Fish and Game | Year: 2015

Between 2010 and 2012, we studied the feeding and spatial ecology of mountain lions (Puma concolor) in the Mendocino National Forest, California, a single-ungulate system in which their main prey were blacktailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus). Mountain lions displayed relatively high ungulate kill rates (x¯ = 1.07 ungulates/week, and x¯ = 5.78 kg/day), and also displayed individual variation in diet composition. The majority (77.6%) of deer ≥1 year old killed by mountain lions were in fair or better condition despite possible observed selection towards deer in older age classes (≥9 years old). Analyses of hunting behavior indicated that prey types were killed in varying proportions among different time periods, with fawns more frequently killed during diurnal hours. We also found differences in habitat characteristics between kill sites and subsequent feeding sites, with feeding sites lower in elevation, flatter in slope, and with greater canopy density. Individual 95% fixed kernel home ranges varied between 102 and 614 km2. Estimated population densities of mountain lions including known kittens were comparatively low (0.68 mountain lions/100 km2).

Yparraguirre D.R.,416 9th Street | Hunt E.G.,405 Wyman Drive | Connelly D.P.,Tall United | Weaver M.L.,Wildlife Branch
California Fish and Game | Year: 2014

In this invited paper we summarize some of the scientific work produced to inform waterfowl management in California and the Pacific Flyway, with an emphasis on those contributions by Department of Fish and Wildlife (Department) waterfowl biologists assigned to Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Project W30R and chronicled in California Fish and Game. Investigations carried out by other Pittman-Robertson projects also contributed substantially to the Department's science-based programs for waterfowl, particularly regarding waterfowl disease and food habits investigations. Important information needs, addressed by the best scientific methods of the day, included population abundance and trend, breeding and wintering distributions, critical habitat needs, vital rates (survival, recruitment), the establishment of appropriate hunting regulations, and how problems identified could best be addressed to maintain the abundance and distribution of waterfowl for future generations. © 2014 California Fish and Game.

Dare O.K.,Public Health Agency of Canada | Watkins W.G.,Wildlife Branch
Canadian Field-Naturalist | Year: 2012

Cougars (Puma concolor) are a rare sighting in Manitoba. This is the first report on Cougar parasites in Manitoba and the first record of Taenia omissa for the province. These data provide an important baseline that will inform future research on parasite profiles and predator-prey interactions between these large carnivores and other wildlife in the province.

Whiklo T.M.,University of Manitoba | Duncan J.R.,Wildlife Branch
Canadian Field-Naturalist | Year: 2014

during 2009 and 2010, nine Barred Owl (Strix varia) nest sites were located in Manitoba, Canada, and data on nest trees, nest structure, and nest site habitat were collected. Nests were located in a variety of tree species, including Balsam Poplar (Populus balsamifera), Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera), Trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides) and Burr Oak (Quercus macrocarpa). all nests were in tree cavities, and the majority of nests were in dead trees (67%) and had lateral openings (67%). habitat surrounding nest trees and estimated canopy cover were highly variable. diameter at breast height of nest trees, cavity width, and cavity depth were consistent and were determined to be the most reliable indicators of nest suitability for breeding Barred Owls. We conclude that the distribution of nesting Barred Owls is influenced more by availability of suitable nest sites than by nest tree species or nest site habitat.

Hart C.M.,Wildlife Branch | Mallette R.D.,Wildlife Branch
California Fish and Game | Year: 2010

We determined the bursa depth method to be unreliable, subjective, and problematic for age determination in ring-necked pheasants (Phasianus colchicus). Rigorous testing during a 6-year study in the Sutter Basin, California revealed that bursa depth was not distinctive for age class in wild pheasants, and we recommend abandoning the method. Results showed that bursa regression adequate to overlap adult standards for the method began in juveniles at 5 months-of-age, with closures starting at 6 months, and with regression completed before adulthood, demonstrating that shallow (≤8 mm) and closed bursas are not distinctive for adults. Among known-age pheasants in the hunter bag, the method produced age misclassifications for 20% of adult males, 26% of adult females, 6% of juvenile males, and 10% of juvenile females. Probe measurements were 5-12 mm deeper in dead adults than in the same birds when alive 2-4 months earlier, a result of post-mortem loss of tissue elasticity. Closure was the most consistent bursa characteristic in wild, adult pheasants, occurring in 21% of males and 88% of females.

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