Chronology of pair formation and breeding biology in the wood duck
The annual behavioral cycle of the wood duck (Aix sponsa) has not been thoroughly investigated in the wild. An increase in the numbers of pairs throughout the fall indicates courtship activity may begin soon after completion of the prealternate molt. The timing of pair formation and the relationship of the breeding strategy to habitat are important in understanding the ecology of the wood duck. A study of courtship behavior and pair formation chronology can give insight to behavioral responses to an environment.This study was designed to acquire information on pair formation and behavioral responses to environmental cues by pursuing the following objectives: 1. To determine chronology of pair formation by observation of courtship behavior throughout the year in the wild. 2. To determine strength of the pair bond in fall and spring including: a. definition of a pair b. interactions between pairs and groups of wood ducks c. change in behavior patterns through the courtship period. 3. To determine existence or function of unpaired males in spring. 4. To determine habitat use.
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