Follow that black duck! Beginning in November 2004, Ducks Unlimited (DU) and partners trapped and radioed American black ducks on Long Island for a ground-breaking research project. Black ducks are an important species along the Atlantic coast, but have suffered serious declines in parts of their wintering range. However, around Long Island the wintering and spring numbers have been relatively stable. This presents an ideal area to study the wintering and spring habitats as well as the food resource needs of this species. “As a conservation organization, we are challenged with designing habitat programs to meet the needs of birds. Without the scientific knowledge of those needs, it is difficult to ensure that we are providing not only enough habitat but the right kinds of habitat”, states Tina Yerkes, Director of Conservation Planning, Great Lakes/Atlantic Regional office of Ducks Unlimited.
Be on the look out for the duck truck with the antennae on the back! Field crews will be traveling all over Long Island, tracking 30 radioed females so they can determine the needs of wintering and spring staging waterfowl. They will also be sampling food resources and conducting behavior observations to determine what types of habitats are being used for different activities, such as resting or feeding. This type of information is critical in planning conservation habitat programs that meet the needs of wintering and spring staging waterfowl. Waterfowl biologists believe that wintering and spring staging habitats may be creating a bottleneck, especially in areas where development and population growth are increasing.
Ducks Unlimited understands that research projects such as this would not be possible without the generosity of it's partners and supporting organizations and appreciates their participation.
Click here for more on the black duck study!