Save The Ducks! Researchers Now Using GPS Trackers To Spy On Mallards
It's time to save the ducks and New York State is taking the lead in making that happen.
There has been a significant decrease in the Eastern Mallard population over the past decade.
The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation has partnered with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, Ducks Unlimited, SUNY Brockport, and the University of Saskatchewan for a major project. With support from 22 state, federal and other non-governmental organizations, these groups are conducting one of the largest telemetry projects of all time.
Throughout the next four years, states and provinces are going to be putting just over 1,100 GPS transmitters on female mallards. This will help research teams learn more about their habitat, breeding success, and how decisions the species makes impacts their survival.
How Are The Ducks Captured?
The ducks are baited with walk-in and swim-in traps. Researchers will also use rocket nets to capture more ducks at one time. The mallards are then put into a crate, assessed, and fitted with the GPS tracker.
Not all states will be participating. Only those that fall under the "American Flyway", which would be the mallard's north-to-south path through the United States during seasonal changes.
Different Than Bird Banding
Researchers not the new GPS tracking will be more effective than their previous bird banding method. Previously, the bands could be easily lost because of a hunter or predator taking the band off.
The GPS transmitters deliver real-time information to the researchers, which is a huge advantage. Not only that, but they are solar powered. This makes it easier to get more information from the ducks for a longer period of time.
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