Evaluating Tradeoffs in the Response of Sora (Porzana carolina) and Waterfowl to the Timing of Early Autumn Wetland Inundation

Auriel M.V. Fournier, Doreen C. Mengel, Edward Gbur, Andy Raedeke, David G. Krementz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


- Wetland loss has increased the importance of multi-species management in remaining wetlands, which provide habitat for a multitude of wetland-dependent species. Many public wetlands across the mid-latitude United States are managed as moist soil impoundments with emphasis on migratory waterfowl. However, how the timing of these water management decisions affects rails is still uncertain. Wetland managers identified this as an area of uncertainty regarding timing of alternative water management strategies to benefit waterfowl and rails, which was addressed through a 3-year management experiment. Sora (Porzana carolina) and waterfowl were surveyed on 10 public wetland properties in Missouri, USA from 2014-2016, and their responses to early autumn inundation of managed palustrine wetlands were compared. A total of 558 Sora surveys detected 5,755 birds (20.6 birds/survey ± 30.8 SD), and 1,304 waterfowl surveys detected 1,411,779 birds (15,686.4 birds/survey ± 23,933.9 SD). Sora responded positively (birds/ha) to inundation of moist soil impoundments earlier in autumn migration (August). The top model for Sora included treatment, year and region of Missouri. There was no difference in waterfowl abundance between early or late inundation. Inundating wetlands earlier in autumn migration can provide habitat for migrating Sora without negative effects on waterfowl use of those wetlands, and wetland managers can incorporate this into their decision-making framework.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)168-178
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2019


  • autumn migration
  • moist soil management
  • Porzana carolina
  • Sora
  • waterfowl
  • wetlands

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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