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South Carolina Mottled Duck Research Project

Shedding light on the Lowcountry mottled duck population
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All project updates

Sept. 20, 2010

In addition to the birds we are tracking from our captures this fall, researchers are tracking 4 female mottled ducks from the 2009 pilot study. The pilot study consisted of 12 implanted birds, of which 8 were adult females, or after hatch year (AHY) birds. The remaining 4 were juveniles, also referred to as hatch-year (HY) ducks by biologists. Of the 12 birds radio-tagged in the pilot study, 3 females are known mortalities, 4 are currently being tracked and the remaining birds have not been detected in 3 months or more.

Sept. 15, 2010

Wednesday's tracking flight located 49 instrumented female mottled ducks, including 22 of the 27 that were released wearing backpack-style transmitters on Sept. 9. No mortalities were located during the flight. The next flight is scheduled for Sept. 22, weather permitting.

Sept. 9, 2010

Capture for year one of the projects is complete, with 80 female mottled ducks radio-marked for research. Forty female mottled ducks (50% adult and 50% juvenile birds) have been captured and instrumented with radio transmitters which were implanted surgically in the abdominal cavity. An additional 40 females have been instrumented with harness-style transmitters. Twenty-five of these birds are adult females.

Sept. 8, 2010

Using telemetry and fixed-wing aircraft, researchers were able to locate 27 instrumented birds out of the 53 that were deployed at the time. Fourteen female mottled ducks have not been located on the 2 previous flights; however, researchers have not covered the full extent of their possible range outside the ACE basin.

Sept. 1, 2010

As of Sept. 1, 40 female mottled ducks have been captured and instrumented with radio transmitters which were implanted surgically in the abdominal cavity. Volunteer surgeons trained in the methodology performed the surgeries using accepted veterinarian methods. An additional 14 females have been instrumented with Dwyer or harness-style transmitters.

All birds are carefully monitored following surgeries and are released at the site of capture the next morning. Researchers will compare and contrast the 2 transmitter styles used in the project.

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