Late May Report
Our transmittered ring-necked ducks are moving into northern areas with poor to nonexistent cell phone coverage, which means we might not hear from some of them until fall. Recall that our transmitters get exceptionally accurate satellite locations, but transmit the location data via cell towers. Fortunately, the units can store huge amounts of data and then send it all at once during fall migration, assuming the hen and her transmitter survive the summer. We have likely already lost contact with several of our boreal-nesting birds.
A large portion of our radioed sample this year came from the Florida/Georgia state line. Ten of the 14 ringers appear to have settled on small, isolated, forested wetlands where they will nest. Two of the non-settled birds last transmitted really closely to the border of areas with poor cell phone coverage.
Half of the South Carolina ringers appear to have settled into small wetlands in Quebec and Ontario. The other half are still moving through areas such as Michigan and Wisconsin.
Ringers marked in Virginia have mostly stopped moving, with nine of 15 appearing to be sitting on small, forested wetlands that are likely nesting sites. However, nearly half are still moving, with one bird leaving central Michigan and moving to Ontario, only to return to the same spot in Michigan. Then the same bird again went to Ontario, only to return a third time to the same wetland complex in Michigan. Arguably the most interesting bird moved quickly, and directly, to far eastern Canada — she has settled on a small forested wetland in Newfoundland.