Long Point Waterfowl students, Lena Vanden Elsen, Katelyn Weaver (M.Sc. Candidates) and Sara Handrigan (4th year Honours Student) recently attended the 43rd Ontario Ecology, Ethology and Evolution Colloquium hosted by Western University. Out of 13 participating universities, Katelyn and Sara took home the Best Graduate Poster and Best Undergraduate Talk Awards.
Katelyn Weaver, Long Point Waterfowl M.Sc. Candidate, is the recipient of a Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship in Science and Technology. Since 1998, the Ontario government, in partnership with the private sector, has rewarded excellence in graduate studies in science and technology with scholarships of $15,000 for one year of research. Scholarship applicants are evaluated and selected based upon their academic excellence, research potential and communication skills.
During winter 2012, Long Point Waterfowl M.Sc. Candidate Philip Wilson completed his last field season where he captured Long-tailed Ducks in Prince Edward County at Lake Ontario. During this final field season, wildlife veterinarian Graham Crawshaw (Toronto Zoo) implanted 8 adult Long-tailed Ducks (female = 7, males = 1). We have been monitoring winter movements, spring and fall migrations, and breeding/molting locations in arctic regions of Canada from the previous 55 implanted Long-tailed Ducks marked across Lake Ontario.
The objective of Phil’s M.Sc. research is to use location data from 63 satellite telemetry-marked Long-tailed Ducks to investigate how environmental variables (e.g., upwelling frequency, ice cover, water depth, ambient temperature, wind direction, and substrate type) influence Long-tailed Duck habitat selection while overwintering at Lake Ontario. The results from this study will identify what areas may be more sensitive to offshore industrial wind turbine development and should be avoided as a step towards the conservation of overwintering habitats for Long-tailed Ducks and other waterfowl species with similar wintering strategies.
Gracious support has been provided my many collaborative partners, including: Sea Duck Joint Venture, Canadian Wildlife Service, Ducks Unlimited, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, Wildlife Habitat Canada, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, US Geological Survey, Toronto Zoo, and Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada.
On December 6th, 2012, Long Point Waterfowl completed their portion of the Over-Winter Productivity Survey for Eastern Population Tundra Swans. The survey was completed by Long Point Waterfowl graduate students Taylor Finger and Katelyn Weaver. Swan numbers in Ontario are recorded at Long Point, Lake St. Clair, and Eastern Lake Ontario (around Prince Edward County). In total there were approximately 2,500 Eastern Population Tundra Swans recorded within Ontario this December.
Long Point Waterfowl M.Sc. students, Taylor Finger, Lena Vanden Elsen and Katelyn Weaver, attended Western University’s Biology Graduate Research Forum on Saturday, October 20th with their poster presentations. The event was a success with presentations by Western graduate students throughout the day, culminated by a poster session in which our very own graduate student, Katelyn Weaver, took home the award for best poster.
Dr. Michael Schummer, Long Point Waterfowl Scientist, along with collaborators, developed a dabbling duck migration forecast site, which is currently hosted by Long Point Waterfowl.
Ted Barney, Long Point Waterfowl Biologist, accompanied volunteers over reading week to mark Mute and Trumpeter Swans in Hamilton Harbour.
Katelyn Weaver and Philip Wilson, Long Point Waterfowl Graduate Students, were recipients of prestigious scholarships from the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada for the 2012-2013 funding period. Philip Wilson was also the recipient of a research grant from the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters for 2012-2013.
Long Point Waterfowl M.Sc. student, Lena Vanden Elsen, volunteered with Ducks Unlimited Canada on their Pintail duckling survival study in southeastern Saskatchewan this June.
Katelyn Weaver, MSc Candidate with Long Point Waterfowl, volunteered with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources on a nesting ecology project on Akimiski Island in May and June of 2012.
Philip Wilson, M.Sc. Candidate with Long Point Waterfowl, received the Industrial Post Graduate Scholarship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada for a 24 month period in June, 2012.
Philip Wilson co-lead a group of twenty 3rd and 4th year students from various Universities across Canada on a field ecology course in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York in May 2012.
Everett Hanna, Long Point Waterfowl Ph.D. Candidate, attended the Georgian Bay Stewardship Council at the Tower Hill Museum in Parry Sound, Ontario on May 16th, 2012.
Katelyn Weaver received the Canadian Graduate Scholarship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada for a 12 month period in May, 2012.
Long Point Waterfowl attended and presented at the Long Point Biosphere Research Forum on March 26, 2012 with many other local conservation groups. Both Long Point Waterfowl graduate students and employees presented current research pertaining to waterfowl and wetlands in the Great Lakes region.
Everett Hanna, Long Point Waterfowl Ph.D. Candidate, presented his graduate research on sandhill cranes on Monday, March 19th at the Hamilton Naturalists Club in Burlington, Ontario.
Philip Wilson attended and accepted an award at the 84th Annual OFAH Fish and Wildlife Conference on Saturday, March 17th.
Ted Barney, Long Point Waterfowl’s Biologist, and Phillip Wilson, M.Sc. candidate with Long Point Waterfowl, along with many other volunteers, caught Long-tailed Ducks this March in the Hamilton Harbour and Prince Edward County. They were able to implant the remaining Platform Transmitter Terminal (PTT) satellite transmitters in 19 Long-tailed Ducks, banding over 100 birds. Implanted birds will be monitored to develop temporal and spatial models of habitat use and selection by these ducks.
Everett Hanna attended and presented at the OFAH Zone D Annual Meeting in January 2012. At this meeting Everett discussed his Ph.D. project on sandhill cranes and received funding for the upcoming year.
Long Point Waterfowl Staff and Student Involvement 2011
Ted Barney and Dr. Michael Schummer, Long Point Waterfowl Scientist, assisted the Georgian Bay’s Women’s Outdoors Club with their second annual Long Point Bay all women’s hunt the last weekend in October. The 10 women in attendance spent their nights at our Research and Education Centre and went out during the days with local hunting guides and volunteers to explore the Long Point marshes.
Ted Barney assisted with Long Point Waterfowlers’ Association’s 2011 fall Special Youth Hunt. For more information on this Youth Hunt please see the attached form.
Dr. Michael Schummer and 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.
Ted Barney, attended and set-up a display at Point Mouillee’s Waterfowl Festival September 10th-11th, 2011.
Dr. Michael Schummer attended and presented at the Midwest Bird Conservation and Monitoring Conference in Illinois Beach and Conference Center, Zion, IL on August 3, 2011.
Mid-winter Waterfowl Survey & Lower Great Lakes January Waterfowl Survey
The mid-winter Waterfowl Survey (MWWS) has been conducted annually in North America since 1935. This survey was established to provide waterfowl managers with an index to the relative abundance and distribution of wintering waterfowl in portions of North America. This survey is flown during the first week of January and encompasses ice-free shorelines, rivers and other wetlands. In the lower Great Lakes, the MWWS is flown along the shorelines of Lakes Ontario, Erie and St. Clair and along the Niagara, Detroit and St. Clair rivers. Long Point Waterfowl in collaboration with the Canadian Wildlife Service have been flying the mid-winter survey since 1998.
In 2002, Long Point Waterfowl initiated the Lower Great Lakes January Waterfowl Survey to better index over-wintering populations of waterfowl in this region. This survey includes the entire shoreline (Canadian and American sides) of Lakes Ontario, Erie and St. Clair and the Niagara, Detroit and portions of the St. Lawrence River. Long Point Waterfowl works in collaboration with the Canadian Wildlife Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Pennsylvania Game Commission, the Ohio Division of Wildlife and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to fly and summarize indices of over-wintering waterfowl populations. Ted Barney and Phillip Wilson flew the surveys for Long Point Waterfowl in 2012.
Sandhill Crane Fall Population Survey
In early October 2011, Long Point Waterfowl coordinated a second annual provincial Sandhill Crane fall population survey in the North Shore Region. With assistance from Ministry of Natural Resources and Canadian Wildlife Service technicians, Ph.D. Candidate from the University of Western Ontario, Everett Hanna, acted as team leader surveying roost sites from Sault Ste. Marie, ON. and St. Joseph Island in the west to Massey and Manitoulin Island in the east. Additional roost sites were also surveyed in the Timmins and Long Point areas. Long Point Waterfowl coordinated the first broad-scale population estimate in early October 2009. The population estimates produced from these surveys represent critical data that will be used by Canadian Wildlife Service in making Sandhill Crane population management decisions in the province of Ontario. In the United States, the states of Tennessee and Kentucky have recently proposed fall hunting seasons. Tennessee temporarily rejected the proposal based on the need for long-term population trend data.. Kentucky is currently finalizing their plan for a fall harvest during 2011.
Long Point Waterfowl has been conducting the mid-summer Mute Swan survey since 2005. The mid-summer Mute Swan survey is flown every 3 years and is used to estimate Mute Swan populations and productivity (i.e. number of young produced and the number of young/breeding pair). This survey also monitors the expansion of this non-native waterfowl species throughout North America and the lower Great Lakes. Results from the Great Lakes survey (Canadian side) have shown that Mute Swan populations continue to increase (increased from 2,894 birds in 2005 to 3,062 in 2011) and their range within the lower Great Lakes. Control of Mute Swans is currently taking place in many U.S. states and proposals to de-list Mute Swans from protection in Ontario have been submitted. The mid-summer Mute Swan survey helps to monitor the success of these control initiatives and can provide a basis for control in areas where Mute Swans are continuing to expand. Ted Barney, Katelyn Weaver (Long Point Waterfowl employee) and Tori Edwards (Long Point Waterfowl volunteer) flew this year’s Mute Swan survey in August 2011.
Recently, Long Point Waterfowl has been contributing to the annual eastern population Tundra Swan productivity survey. This survey is conducted annually in December and provides an estimate of the population and productivity of the eastern population of Tundra Swans. The eastern population Tundra Swan productivity survey is a ground-based survey and results contribute to the management of this species. As such, results from this survey contribute to establishing the annual harvest allocation of eastern population Tundra Swans. Dr. Michael Schummer and Taylor Finger, Long Point Waterfowl graduate student, performed this year’s Tundra Swan productivity survey December 1st.