DUC Migration Tracker / Suivi des migrations de CIC's Journal

Journal archives for April 2023

April 06, 2023

Featured Observation: Mallard

This week's featured observation is a blue-billed mallard, spotted by @caterpillar511 in Hamilton, Ontario

Matt Dyson from the Institute for Wetland and Waterfowl Research writes:
A mallard with a blue bill? A hybrid, right? Mallard x Lesser Scaup? Mallard x Northern Pintail? The answer – without genetics, its tough to say with any certainty; however, there are other plausible explanations that may be more likely than hybridization in this case.
If you spend time observing waterfowl, you are likely aware of the variation in colouration that can be displayed within a species. While this can indeed be influenced by hybridization, it can also be regulated by the food and nutrients that a duck consumes, which regulates some secondary sexual characteristics like bill colour. There is some evidence that attribute this bill colour deviation to a lack of carotenoid pigmentation that gives breeding male mallards that bright yellow bill. Some researchers hypothesize that females may even use this characteristic in mate selection as brighter yellow can indicate higher mate quality – bad luck for our blue-billed friend. This mallard appears to have all the other feather colouration of a mallard, so in this case, this explanation appears most plausible as opposed to a hybrid.
Researchers like Dr. Phil Lavretsky and his lab are actively investigating Mallard genetics and providing insight to the frequency and occurrence of hybridization in North American ducks.

Wood duck: Marsh Madness Champion

Thank you to everyone who voted!

Want to continue celebrating spring migration with us? You can start by participating in our Flock Watch contest for a chance to win a Vortex Canada prize pack! ducks.ca/flockwatch

Observation en vedette : Canard colvert

L'observation vedette de cette semaine est un canard colvert avec un bec bleu, repérée par @caterpillar511 à Hamilton, Ontario

Matt Dyson de l'Institute for Wetland and Waterfowl Research écrit:
Un colvert avec un bec bleu ? Un hybride, non ? Canard colvert x petit fuligule ? Canard colvert x canard pilet ? La réponse - sans génétique, il est difficile de le dire avec certitude ; cependant, il y a d'autres explications plausibles qui peuvent être plus probables que l'hybridation dans ce cas.
Si vous passez du temps à observer la sauvagine, vous êtes probablement conscient de la variation de coloration que l'on peut observer au sein d'une même espèce. Si cette variation peut effectivement être influencée par l'hybridation, elle peut également être régulée par la nourriture et les nutriments qu'un canard consomme, ce qui régule certaines caractéristiques sexuelles secondaires telles que la couleur du bec. Certaines données attribuent cette déviation de la couleur du bec à un manque de pigmentation caroténoïde qui donne au colvert mâle reproducteur son bec jaune vif. Certains chercheurs émettent l'hypothèse que les femelles pourraient même utiliser cette caractéristique dans la sélection des partenaires, car un jaune plus vif peut indiquer un partenaire de meilleure qualité - pas de chance pour notre ami au bec bleu. Ce colvert semble avoir toutes les autres couleurs de plumes d'un colvert, donc dans ce cas, cette explication semble la plus plausible par rapport à celle d'un hybride.

Canard branchu: champion de la Folie de marais

Merci à tout le monde qui a voté dans ce concours!

Posted on April 06, 2023 01:27 PM by ducksunlimitedcanada ducksunlimitedcanada | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 19, 2023

CBC Explains: Bird Migration and Climate Change

Read the CBC article here:

Climate Change is impacting bird migration: here’s what we know

Our IWWR researchers weighed in on some of the challenges outlined in the CBC article, informed by their research into migration, habitats and climate change.

Migration timing

Stuart Slattery at DUC/IWWR has found that there will be winners and losers when it comes to climate change. More adaptable birds like mallards will probably have an easier time nesting and producing offspring than other species like scaups and scoters, whose nesting schedules seem to be more rigid and are therefore more vulnerable to abnormal temperatures that come with climate change.

Challenges beyond migration

Even once migration is over, climate change could prove challenging for waterfowl. Wetland habitat is particularly vulnerable to climate change, and with wider swings in temperature and precipitation, wetlands will likely be wet in the spring only to dry out later in the summer during droughts. https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1029/2020WR028727

Moving forward

Your iNaturalist observations in Migration Tracker help scientists better understand how birds are responding to climate change! Ducks Unlimited Fellowship winner Nick Masto used community science data to look at how waterfowl respond to extreme winter weather.

Posted on April 19, 2023 06:31 PM by ducksunlimitedcanada ducksunlimitedcanada | 1 comment | Leave a comment

April 21, 2023

Featured Observation: Canvasback

This week's featured observation is a canvasback, spotted by @jemredwood in Hamilton, Ontario

Lauren Bortolotti from the Institute for Wetland and Waterfowl Research writes:

DUC’s work to keep invasive common carp out of the iconic Delta Marsh in Manitoba has succeeded in improving duck habitat and we’ve seen a dramatic return of migrating ducks, especially canvasbacks, who like to feed on submerged vegetation.

This female canvasback is likely eating aquatic plants, but also incorporating high-protein foods into her diet to prepare for the hard work of laying and then incubating a nest full of eggs.

Flock Watch

Celebrate spring migration with us by participating in our Flock Watch contest right here on iNaturalist for a chance to win a Vortex Canada prize pack!

Get the details here: ducks.ca/flockwatch

Observation en vedette : Fuligule à dos blanc

L'observation vedette de cette semaine est un Fuligule à dos blanc, repérée par @jemredwood à Hamilton, Ontario

Lauren Bortolotti de l'Institute for Wetland and Waterfowl Research écrit:
Le travail de CIC pour empêcher la carpe commune envahissante de pénétrer dans le marais emblématique de Delta au Manitoba a permis d'améliorer l'habitat des canards et nous avons constaté un retour spectaculaire des canards migrateurs, en particulier des Fuligules à dos blanc, qui aiment se nourrir de végétation submergée.

Cette femelle à dos blanc se nourrit probablement de plantes aquatiques, mais incorpore également des aliments riches en protéines dans son régime alimentaire pour se préparer au dur labeur de la ponte et de l'incubation d'un nid rempli d'œufs.

Posted on April 21, 2023 02:40 PM by ducksunlimitedcanada ducksunlimitedcanada | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 28, 2023

Flock Watch: Week 4

Your target for the fourth week of Flock Watch is the killdeer!

Log your observations on our Migration Tracker project this week for a chance to win a Vortex Canada Diamondback Prize Pack. Your mid-flight insights will provide valuable data that will inform future conservation efforts and just might win you some world-class optics.

Posted on April 28, 2023 01:30 PM by ducksunlimitedcanada ducksunlimitedcanada | 0 comments | Leave a comment