Mottled Ducks Are Subject Of New Research Project

Friday, August 29, 2014
Mottled duck with solar-powered satellite transmitter attached
Mottled duck with solar-powered satellite transmitter attached
- photo by Robert Horam/GA WRD 2014

Have satellite, will travel and luckily, will provide data.  Mottled ducks along the Georgia coast are being outfitted with satellite transmitters in a new, cooperative research project between the University of Georgia and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division. 

“Mottled ducks are a relatively new species to the Georgia coast, only having been established here since the late 1990s,” said Greg Balkcom, State Waterfowl Biologist for the Wildlife Resources Division.

  “Their population is concentrated along the mouth of the Altamaha River, and has remained stable for several years, but we still don’t know enough about their habitat preferences and movement patterns to effectively manage coastal impoundments to meet their needs.” 

By attaching small, satellite transmitters to the ducks, this project allows researchers to track their movements, no matter how far they go.  The solar-powered transmitters collect several GPS locations per day for each duck, and electronically send that information back to researchers. 

A combined team of Wildlife Resources Division staff and a graduate student from the University of Georgia attached the first transmitters to six mottled ducks in early August.  Additional transmitters will be deployed throughout the fall of 2014. 

Researchers will see where mottled ducks feed in the mornings, where they roost at night, and how their use of available wetlands and marshes changes throughout the year.  With better understanding of the mottled duck’s movements, habitat use, and habitat needs, the agency can highlight important areas for conservation and tailor management schemes to create more usable habitat for mottled ducks along Georgia’s coast. 

What if a mottled duck is taken during waterfowl season?  No problem.  Any hunter who harvests a mottled duck wearing a transmitter can call the number on the transmitter for instructions or return the transmitter to the local Wildlife Resources Division Game Management office in Brunswick (One Conservation Way, Brunswick, GA 31520, 912 262-3173).

For more information on the project, contact Greg Balkcom (  For more information on waterfowl hunting,

UGA graduate student Kaylee Pollander and WRD Biologist Greg Balkcom attach a transmitter to a mottled duck.
UGA graduate student Kaylee Pollander and WRD Biologist Greg Balkcom attach a transmitter to a mottled duck.
- Photo2 by Robert Horan/GA WRD 2014

Hunting Opportunities For The Wheelchair Bound

Cordell Hull Wildlife Management Area provides hunting opportunity for wheelchair bound hunters.  A wheelchair bound hunting zone on Cordell Hull WMA provides 6 blinds on a first come, first served basis. This zone is open only to hunters who are totally and permanently confined to a wheelchair as certified by a physician. On wheelchair-bound deer hunts, each wheelchair-bound ... (click for more)

Claire Henley: Adventures West (So Much All At Once)

(Editor's Note: Chattanoogan Claire Henley started an adventure of a lifetime on the remote Pacific Crest Trail in April. Along the way, she had many adventures and found herself a husband named Big Spoon). “We were very tired, we were very merry—/ We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.” -Edna St. Vincent Millay, “Recuerdo” We had come through very much. So ... (click for more)

Baylor Student, 16, Dies After Cardiac Incident At Pool

A 16-year-old Baylor School student died after a cardiac incident at a pool on Monday afternoon. Sumner Smith died in the incident on campus. The student was taken by ambulance to Erlanger. Baylor's Barbara Kennedy said it happened during a routine swim practice. He was found unresponsive in the pool. Counselors were being provided on the Baylor campus on Tuesday. ... (click for more)

Bradley County Commission Decides Not To Provide Animal Pickup Service

Bradley County Commissioners on Monday finally put animal control to rest. It was not easy and it was not without confusion, but in the end, the county will not provide animal pickup service.   Confusion began when commissioners were asked to approve the agenda, which included two options for animal control pick up. Item “D” provided for the SPCA of Bradley County ... (click for more)

VW PILOT Crash Landing

The Volkswagen emission scandal proves the point citizen activist, Ms. Helen Burns Sharp, has repeatedly brought to the attention of local government officials. She urged them to "beef up" the PILOT contracts before approving PILOT tax abatements. Any logical person would agree, because it is the only way to recoup a tax loss when unthinkable situations arise. Volkswagen's willful ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Readers Are Right

Jeffrey Cross is a community activist in the very finest way. He has no idea that I and many others have followed what he has done, and tirelessly I might add, to enhance the St. Elmo neighborhood at the foot of Lookout Mountain. I wish this world had a million Jeffrey Crosses. So when he wrote in protest of my Monday story, “We Want Our City Back,” I was more than eager to read ... (click for more)