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LPW Lake St. Clair Initiative Featured in the News

Our Lake St. Clair Initiative is focused on providing conservation planners and area managers in the Lake St. Clair region the necessary information to understand how environmental stressors may influence carrying capacity, habitat use, and survival of waterfowl during the nonbreeding seasons. To learn more about LPW’s Lake St. Clair Initiative or other research we conduct please check out our Research links.

Here are some links to recent news reports on this initiative!

Windsor Star

Chatham Daily News

CTV News Report

CTV News Report: Frozen Great Lakes deadly for ducks, conservationists say. On Sunday, March 23rd, Dr. Scott Petrie and Ted Barney discussed the impacts of the harsh 2013/14 winter on waterfowl on CTV News.
Ted Barney, a biologist with Long Point Waterfowl, said many of the dead birds had relied on their own body mass to stay alive. ”And they get to a point where there is no more muscle mass left for them to use as energy,” Barney told CTV Kitchener.
Click here to read the article and watch the news clip.

Marking Trumpeter Swans at La Salle Park

Long Point Waterfowl Biologist Ted Barney accompanied volunteer students to Hamilton Harbour over reading week to capture and mark Mute Swans and Trumpeter Swans with Beverly Kingdon.

If you are interested in volunteering your time with us at Long Point Waterfowl please contact:

Ted Barney
Biologist, Long Point Waterfowl
tbarney@longpointwaterfowl.org
1-888-448-2473 ext. 151

Dabbling Duck Migration Forecast

Long Point Waterfowl has developed a Dabbling Duck migration forecast which is the first of its kind ever available on the internet. Scientist Dr. Michael Schummer will be developing weekly forecasts which will be posted every Monday for the autumn/winter seasons. Click here to learn more about this exciting development and to prepare yourself for the arrival of ducks in your region.


2012 Heritage Hunt

After the creation of a Waterfowl Heritage Day throughout Ontario in 2012, Long Point Waterfowl and The Long Point Waterfowlers’ Association sponsored a Heritage Hunt at Long Point on Saturday, September 15th. The purpose of the event was to allow young hunters and apprentices between the ages of 12-17 a chance to get out hunting with experienced individuals in a safe setting. The Heritage Hunt event included a BBQ dinner for the youth and their mentors, a presentation about Long Point Waterfowl’s research and hunting programs, instructions on firearm safety and rules and regulations, a demonstration on goose calling and decoy placement, and of course a mentored hunt within the Long Point Waterfowl Management Unit. Click here to learn more about this event and click here to view pictures.

Popular Article in DUC Conservator Magazine

Ongoing research by Dr. Michael Schummer, Scientist with Long Point Waterfowl, was featured in a recent edition of the Ducks Unlimited Canada magazine, “Conservator”.  With collaborators, Long Point Waterfowl seeks to determine influences of climatic variability on waterfowl populations in North America. “More and more frequently, waterfowl hunters, birding enthusiasts, and those in charge of providing seasonal habitats for waterfowl, want to understand how changes in climate will influence waterfowl migration, seasonal bird distributions, and waterfowl populations in North America”, says Dr. Schummer. We are beginning to understand how increases in temperature may influence migratory patterns of Mallards, but we also seek these answers for other species as part of several graduate projects that Long Point Waterfowl is conducting including work with Lesser Scaup, Long-tailed Ducks, Tundra Swans, and a project focused on all dabbling ducks. Click here to view a PDF of this article.

Most northern hemispheric waterfowl migrate to exploit seasonality in food and habitat resources to complete their annual lifecycle. Variation in weather influences timing and success of breeding (e.g., fledging a brood) and non-breeding (e.g., survival) events in these species.  Also, the migratory behavior of waterfowl may result in more flexibility to climatic variability than non-migratory organisms. However, our understanding of species-specific flexibility to changes in weather may not be adequate to inform waterfowl conservation in the northern hemisphere in the 21st century.

Long Point Waterfowl aims to reduce these knowledge gaps with our partners at Mississippi State University, Gulf Coastal Plains and Ozarks Landscape Conservation Cooperative, Missouri Department of Conservation, Atmospheric and Environmental Research, Winous Point Marsh Conservancy, and US Geological Survey, as well as a multitude of collaborators with various state agencies and wildlife refuges.


2012 Youth Hunting and Conservation Course

Long Point Waterfowl is a strong supporter of youth mentorship and providing the introduction of our youth to wildlife-related activities and our hunting heritage.  Our Youth Hunting & Conservation Course provides 12-16 year olds the opportunity to participate in hands-on activities that focus on our hunting heritage as well as wildlife conservation and management. The 4th annual Youth Hunting & Conservation Course was extremely successful with 24 youth from across Ontario participating in six days of instruction, fun, and hands-on activities.  Participants successfully passed their Ontario Hunter Safety, Canadian Firearms Training and Ontario Wild Turkey Hunter Education certification. Participants took part in retriever training, decoy placement and game cooking, watched a taxidermy demonstration from one of Canada’s premier taxidermists (Rick Davis), and shot .22 caliber rifles and shotguns at the Waterford Sportsman’s Club. All participants also received a one year membership with Delta
Waterfowl, Ducks Unlimited Canada, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters and the Quality
Deer Management Association. With increasing demand for this course, Long Point Waterfowl in conjunction with our supporting partners, are planning to offer 2 separate programs next year.  This will allow for even more Ontario youth to pursue their passion for the outdoors.

Student Awards

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) is a Canadian government agency that provides grants for research in natural sciences and in engineering.

Scholarships are provided as financial support to high caliber scholars who are engaged in masters or doctoral programs in the natural sciences or engineering. Scholarship applicants are evaluated and selected according to their academic excellence, research ability and research potential as well as their communication, interpersonal and leadership abilities. All scholarships are offered to the top-ranked applicants at each academic level (masters, doctoral, post-doctorate).

Katelyn Weaver, M.Sc. candidate at the University of Western Ontario, is the recipient of an NSERC Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS) for 2012-2013. Katelyn began working with Long Point Waterfowl on research entitled, “Habitat selection during the non-breeding period by Eastern Population Tundra Swans, Cygnus columbianus columbianus” in January 2012. Katelyn intends to explore swan selection of agricultural and aquatic habitats along migration routes and on wintering grounds and to compare seasonal wetland selection. Information from her study will help inform conservation strategies for Eastern Population Tundra Swans at staging and wintering areas. To read more about this project, please click here.

Philip Wilson, M.Sc. candidate at the University of Western Ontario is also a recipient of a fellowship from NSERC in the Industrial Postgraduate Scholarship (IPS) program. The goal of the IPS program is to provide graduate students research experience in industry where they will be able to contribute to strengthen Canadian innovation.  Philip has been awarded a 24 month fellowship for 2012 – 2013, for his research with Long Point Waterfowl titled “Habitat Selection by Long-tailed Ducks (Clangula hyemalis) overwintering at Lake Ontario”. Philip will use satellite telemetry to determine habitat selection by Long-tailed duck at Lake Ontario as influenced by environmental variables. Information gained from this study will enable siting offshore industrial wind turbines to be placed in areas to minimize impacts to migrating and wintering Long-tailed Ducks. To read more about this project, please click here.

OFAH Wildlife Research Grant

Philip Wilson, a Long Point Waterfowl M.Sc. Candidate has also been awarded the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters Zone G Wildlife Research Grant for 2012. Philip Wilson (on right) along with other OFAH award holders are shown in the picture below.

Resource selection is of particular interest in the study of waterfowl ecology, as biologists are able to gain insight into resource use in relation to availability. Determining which resources are selected provides fundamental information about how waterfowl meet their requirements for survival, as well as about habitat quality, minimum space requirements, and the potential plasticity of individuals to habitat change. Zebra mussels colonized and dominated the benthos of Lake Ontario in the early 1990s, which corresponded with a 10-fold increase in overwintering sea duck populations, of which, Long-tailed Ducks are the most numerous. With the increased importance of Lake Ontario as a sea duck wintering area, there is a need for quantification of habitat use and movements. In addition, tracking seaducks will provide information about habitat selection and movements and the potential impact of offshore industrial wind turbine developments on waterfowl.

During the winters of 2010-2011 and 2011-2012, Phil captured Long-tailed Ducks at several locations on the Canadian side of Lake Ontario and implanted 55 adults (female = 34, males = 21). We have been monitoring winter movements, spring and fall migrations, and breeding/molting regions in arctic regions of Canada.

Generous support has been provided by many collaborative partners, including: Sea Duck Joint Venture, Canadian Wildlife Service, Ducks Unlimited, NSERC, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, Wildlife Habitat Canada, TD Canada Trust – Friends of the Environment Foundation, US Geological Survey, and the Toronto Zoo.

 

2012 Waterbird and Wetland Field Ecology Course

Long Point Waterfowl recently coordinated its seventh Waterbird and Wetland Field Ecology Course. Long Point Waterfowl in partnership with the University of Western Ontario and funding from the Sam Johnson Education Scholarship have been offering the course since 2005 to students from universities throughout Ontario.  The course introduces students to basic wetland and waterbird ecology and management through site visits to several important marshes associated with Long Point and Lake St. Clair. The course also stresses the importance of organizational partnerships in wetland conservation through guest presentations from Bird Studies Canada, the Canadian Wildlife Service, Ducks Unlimited Canada and the Long Point Regional Conservation Authority.  This year 14 students from 5 Ontario universities participated in the field course.

 

2011 Youth Hunting and Conservation Course

Long Point Waterfowl hosted their annual Youth Hunting and Conservation Course that ran July 23rd to July 28th.

This course gathered 21 youths from the ages of 12-16 for six days of in-class instruction and out-demonstrations. After which students gained their Ontario Hunter Education certification, Firearms
Safety certification and their Ontario Wild Turkey Hunting course. Students also received a year long membership to Delta Waterfowl, Ducks Unlimited and to the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters.

Activities during this week included a trip to the Waterford Sportsman’s Club to practice their aim with a 22 caliber rifle and a semi-automatic shot-gun, enjoying a free flying raptor demonstration and a retriever dog demonstration, and learning about field and marsh decoy placement from Ray and Jude St. John.

 

Friends of Long Point Waterfowl Committee Announcement

Long Point Waterfowl is pleased to announce the development of an inaugural Friends Of Long Point Waterfowl Committee. The committee will assist Long Point Waterfowl with many initiatives and activities such as our annual Duck Day on September 25th and Fundraiser Dinner this upcoming April. The committee includes current and retired members of local conservation groups and individuals interested in our hunting and outdoor heritage.

 

2011 Waterbird and Wetland Field Ecology Course

Long Point Waterfowl hosted their annual Waterbird and Wetland Field Ecology Course that ran from June 4th to June 11th. This course gathered 16 undergraduate students from universities in the surrounding area for this one-week course taught in and around the globally important coastal wetland complex associated with Long Point in southwestern Ontario.

Students learned about ecological processes and the importance of natural and man-made wetlands to humans and the animals that inhabit them by listening to lectures and through participating in several field trips to local wetlands and wetland rehabilitation, creation, and restoration projects. We also introduced concepts regarding how man-made wetlands are created and managed for
wildlife and specifically discuss basic waterbird and waterfowl management activities. Basic monitoring and research/sampling
techniques were taught and demonstrated for marsh-inhabiting wildlife and plants. Students also actively participated in group-based data collection and summarization by conducting point counts for marsh-birds, trapping amphibians, and sampling aquatic invertebrates and plants. The goal of this course was to allow students to gain a greater understanding of wetland and waterbird ecology and management and of the conservation, research, and monitoring activities of various government and non-government organizations in southern Ontario.

Activities during this week included a trip to Lake St. Clair to explore the marshes in the area, goose banding where we managed to band over 250 adult Canada Geese, a tour of Bird Studies Old Cut bird banding station, and a visit to the local Raptor Conservancy where students were engaged in a free-flying raptor display.

 

Conferences Attended in 2011

Long Point Waterfowl staff and students attended a conference at Point Mouillee State Game Area with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources on May 17, 2011. Presentations focused on marsh management and other current conservation issues such as the development of industrial wind turbines and invasive Mute Swans.

Dr. Michael Schummer, Long Point Waterfowl’s Scientist, attended and presented at the Midwest Bird Conservation and Monitoring Conference in Illinois Beach and Conference Center, Zion, IL on August 3, 2011.

Dr. Michael Schummer and our new graduate student, Phillip Wilson, attended the 2011 Sea Duck Conference in Alaska September 12th-16th. Phillip presented information from his M.Sc. project on movement patters and habitat selection of Long-tailed Ducks overwintering in Lake Ontario. Dr. Schummer presented information on the current state of knowledge about Sea Ducks on the Lower Great Lakes: threats and research.

 

New Funding

Long Point Waterfowl was able to employ four new employees thanks to funding received in the spring of 2011.

Funding from the Sand Plains Community Development Fund through the Canadian Government allowed us to employ Greg Dunn, our new Community Outreach and Marketing Manager, and Katelyn Weaver (left), our new Research and Education Centre Manager. This funding also allowed us to develop a walking trail around our 40 acre Research
and Education Centre with interpretive signs describing animals, plants and ecosystems found around the property.

Thanks to the Long Point Waterfowler’s Association for funding two summer research technicians, Emily McNaughton and Jason Palframan (right). These technicians evaluated bird, invertebrate, and plant communities at restored ponds, ‘natural’ ponds, and monotypic cattail/Phragmites to monitor influences of restoration efforts by the Long Point Waterfowlers’ Association within the Crown Marsh.

 

2011 Publication Highlights

Long Point Waterfowl has published two journal articles thus far in 2012 entitled “Factors affecting lipid reserves and foraging activity of bufflehead, common goldeneye, and long-tail ducks during winter at Lake Ontario” and “Variation in body composition and digestive organs of tundra swans during migration at Long Point, Lake Erie, Ontario”. To access the PDFs to individual journal articles published by Long Point Waterfowl click here.

Dr. Mike Schummer, Long Point Waterfowl’s Scientist, is featured in an issue of DU Inc.’s magazine.  Mike discusses some of the research that he conducted at Mississippi StateUniversity with Dr. Rick Kaminski prior to starting work with Long Point Waterfowl.

Long Point Waterfowl’s scientist Dr. Michael Schummer published an article in Lakeline magazine.

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