Research to investigate wintering ecology of ducks in New York

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Photo © MichaelFurtman.com

The Black Duck Joint Venture partnership is interested in factors that limit carrying capacity of wintering habitats for black ducks. Mallards and black ducks are closely related species, and in wintering areas they both occupy, mallards can fill niches that would otherwise be available to black ducks.

More interaction between these species may lead to more unwanted hybridization. A two-year study will start this fall and winter to better understand habitat use and behavioral interactions between wintering black ducks and mallards in central New York. A sample of black ducks and mallards will be fitted with GPS radio telemetry units to assess habitat use, determine factors influencing transition among habitats and over-winter survival. Information from this study will help habitat management.

Leading this research are the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation. DU's involvement has been made possible by a donation from Cargill.