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New online map allows users firsthand, interactive experience of black duck migration

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Ducks Unlimited's Black Duck Research Initiative brought to life on Web

ANN ARBOR, Mich., March 3, 2008 – If you’re interested in taking bird watching to the next level, Ducks Unlimited has the perfect tool for you. This month, Ducks Unlimited’s Great Lakes/Atlantic Regional Office unveiled an updated version of its Black Duck Research Initiative Web site, including an all-new interactive mapping tool allowing users to “Follow the Ducks” using satellite and VHF radio tracking technology.

The American black duck population has declined by as much as 60 percent in traditional wintering areas. One explanation for this decline is the loss and degradation of quality wintering habitat. In 2004, Ducks Unlimited and its partners initiated a multi-year study to examine wintering ecology and to quantify food resources and carrying capacity for wintering and spring staging black ducks on Long Island, New York. This research was later expanded to include New Jersey and Virginia. This year, the Black Duck Research Initiative will be expanded to include the use of satellite radio transmitters with GPS technology, which will allow researchers to track birds for up to three years as they move between wintering areas in New Jersey, Virginia and Ohio, and breeding areas.

Along with general information regarding the study, the Black Duck Research Initiative Web site is home to a new interactive mapping tool that offers the opportunity to pinpoint the movements of wintering and migrating black duck hens in New Jersey, Virginia and Ohio. The map is updated regularly with the birds’ locations and, in many cases, exactly what they’re doing on a given day. To access the map, go to http://www.ducks.org/blackduckstudy and click on “Follow the Ducks.”

The Black Duck Research Initiative is supported by the Waterfowl Research Foundation, John & Elaine Kanas Family Foundation, North Fork Bank, Camp Fire Conservation Fund, Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin - Wetlands and Waterfowl Research Fellowship through Ducks Unlimited, Nunnally Foundation, Beirne Carter Foundation, NewMarket Corp., Ducks Unlimited Inc., The Nature Conservancy, Black Duck Joint Venture, Atlantic Coast Joint Venture, Upper Mississippi River and Great Lakes Region Joint Venture, New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, Cape May National Wildlife Refuge, Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, Supawna Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, New Jersey Duck Stamp Committee, New Jersey Waterfowlers Association, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Ohio Division of Wildlife, Southern Illinois University, University of Delaware and many private DU donors

With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest and most effective wetland and waterfowl conservation organization with almost 12 million acres conserved. The United States alone has lost more than half of its original wetlands - nature’s most productive ecosystem - and continues to lose more than 80,000 wetland acres each year.


 

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