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 (greg.balkcom@dnr.state.ga.us).  For more information on waterfowl hunting, visitwww.gohuntgeorgia.com/Hunting/Waterfowl.

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


Free Entrance To Point Park For National Public Lands Day Sept. 30

Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park is waiving the entrance fee on Saturday, Sept. 30 to Point Park, atop Lookout Mountain in celebration of National Public Lands Day. During the day, ranger-guided programs lasting between 30 and 45 minutes are given at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., beginning inside the Point Park entrance gate.  National Public Lands Day is ... (click for more)

Clay County Sergeant Bill Moulton Receives Award

TWRA Sergeant Bill Moulton received the prestigious Governor’s award for his work as a first responder. Moulton was nominated by the Safety and Homeland Security District in which he works. This district includes Overton, Clay and Jackson Counties.    As a senior member of the TWRA Unified Dive Team, Mr. Moulton has taught and assisted in several first responder ... (click for more)

Firefighters Battle 2-Alarm Apartment Building Fire

More than a dozen people were forced from their homes early Thursday morning when fire broke out in their apartment building.   The Chattanooga Fire Department received the alarm at  2:58 a.m.  and responded to Rainbow Creek Apartments at  7604 Standifer Gap Road  with six fire companies. Seeing a significant amount of fire upon arrival, a ... (click for more)

Lone Survivor Of Lookout Valley Massacre Says He Is 100% Sure Morse Was One Of Shooters; Detective Tells Of Retrieving Guns

The lone survivor of a massacre at a Lookout Valley trailer park on April 9, 2014, testified Wednesday that he is 100 percent sure that Derek Morse was one of the two shooters. Matthew Callam said he was thrown off initially by the fact that Morse had facial hair at the time, but he said when he was shown a recent photo of Morse soon after the incident "it was like I was looking ... (click for more)

Why The Ed Johnson Memorial Matters To Me, A Libertarian

I have seen a lot of responses to the question of whether or not our city and county should financially support the Ed Johnson Memorial at the Walnut Street bridge. Some fully support government pitching in and some say that private individuals and civic organizations should pitch in. Both are correct.  Our city has become a very sought after place to live. From our hometown ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: McQueen & Her TVAAS

If I am reading my Ouija Board right, I suspect the Hamilton County School Board will vote to allow a controversial “partnership” to be formed with the state Board of Education tonight at its monthly meeting. State Education Commissioner Candice McQueen has said she will demand the one-sided partnership to take over the operation of five at-risk schools in Hamilton County and, if ... (click for more)