Banding Together to Explain Decline in Eastern Mallards
Over the past 20 years, mallard populations in New York and the Northeast United States have declined significantly, leading to reduced bag limits starting in 2018.
To understand what factors may be contributing to the decline, DEC, Pennsylvania Game Commission, Ducks Unlimited, SUNY Brockport, and the University of Saskatchewan partnered with 22 state, federal, and non-governmental organizations to start one of the largest telemetry projects ever conducted in North America.
Over the next 4 years, states and provinces in the Atlantic Flyway will be putting over 1,100 GPS transmitters on female mallards to learn more about habitat use and migration timing and how these factors affect breeding success and survival. In the first year, DEC and partners deployed over 300 transmitters. Each transmitter can send tens of thousands of locations for up 2 or 3 years. This project will give biologists and researchers a glimpse of what drives mallard populations and will help better inform mallard management in the Atlantic Flyway for years to come.
You can follow along by visiting the project website: https://atlantic-flyway-waterfowl-gps.weebly.com/ It includes an interactive map that is updated periodically so you can follow these birds through migration in near real-time!