Each year thousands of waterfowl stage within the Lake St. Clair region of southwestern Ontario during autumn migration. Despite its importance, the region is experiencing substantial habitat changes, which include: wetland loss (>90%) from conversion to agriculture, greater competition for resources from increasing populations of invasive species (e.g., Mute Swans, Phragmites), potential exclusion from resources from increasing industrial development (e.g., wind turbines), and potential decreases in available waste grain. The remaining habitat in the region is intensively managed to provide resources for waterfowl but more information is required to understand how exactly waterfowl use these habitats.
During August and September 2014, Long Point Waterfowl PhD student Matt Palumbo captured, weighed and measured >800 Mallards with assistance from Canadian Wildlife Service, LPW staff and volunteers, and area managers at Lake St. Clair. Twenty adult female Mallards have been equipped
with Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite transmitters to track their local and regional movements, habitat use, and survival. The goal of the research is to provide information to conservation planners and wetland managers on how adult female Mallards are using the dynamic landscape of the region and how this use relates to their survival.
To help support the research Long Point Waterfowl has developed the Mallard Tracker program. Interested individuals or groups can sponsor a hen Mallard equipped with a GPS transmitter. Sponsors will receive exclusive updates to track movements and survival of their duck and other sponsored birds in addition to personally naming their duck and receiving a tax receipt.