Illinois Outdoors at
RulesIllinois Outdoors at

Prairie State Outdoors Categories

Top Story :: Opinion :: Illinois Outdoor News :: Fishing News :: Hunting News :: Birding News :: Nature Stories :: Miscellaneous News :: Fishing :: Big Fish Fridays :: Big Fish Stories :: State Fishing Reports :: Other Fishing Reports :: Fishing Tips, Tactics & Tales :: Where to Fish :: Fishing Calendar :: Hunting :: Hunting Reports :: Hunting Tips, Tactics & Tales :: Where to Hunt :: Tales from the Timber :: Turkey Tales :: Hunting Calendar :: Big Game Stories :: Nature and Birding :: Birding Bits :: Nature Newsbits :: Critter Corner :: Birding Calendar :: Stargazing :: In the Wild :: Miscellaneous Reports and Shorts :: Links :: Hunting Links :: Birding Links :: Video ::

Big Buck Stories

1960s :: 1980s :: 1991-92 :: 1992-93 :: 1993-94 :: 1994-95 :: 1995-96 :: 1997-98 :: 1998-99 :: 1999-2000 :: 2000-01 :: 2001-02 :: 2003-04 :: 2004-05 :: 2005-06 :: 2006-07 :: 2007-08 :: 2008-09 :: 2009-10 :: 2010-11 :: 2011-12 :: 2012-13 ::


Flathead's Picture of the Week :: Big bucks :: Birdwatching :: Cougars :: Dogs :: Critters :: Fishing :: Asian carp :: Bass :: Catfish :: Crappie :: Ice :: Muskie :: Humor :: Hunting :: Deer :: Ducks :: Geese :: Turkey :: Upland game :: Misc. :: Mushrooms :: Open Blog Thursday :: Picture A Day 2010 :: Plants and trees :: Politics :: Prairie :: Scattershooting :: Tales from the Trail Cams :: Wild Things ::


Waterfowl scientists are trying to determine how well Illinois River Valley wetlands are meeting the needs of migrating diving ducks. Chris Young/The State Journal-Register.

Diving duck study enters second year

March 21, 2013 at 04:56 PM

The State Journal-Register

Waterfowl scientists with the Illinois Natural History Survey are in the midst of the second year of fieldwork as part of a diving duck study being conducted in the Illinois River Valley.

Last spring, a team from the Forbes Biological Station near Havana started trapping and banding lesser scaup in an attempt to learn more about how diving ducks were using restored habitats.

The study is patterned after a similar long-term study of scaup using Pool 19 on the Mississippi River.

“We learned a lot last year, and we’ve had really good success this year,” said Heath Hagy, director of the Forbes Station. “We had six or seven trap days and we just banded our 1,033rd bird.”

Staff from the Forbes station, with help from The Nature Conservancy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, INHS Illinois River Biological Station and others trapped scaup on The Nature Conservancy’s Emiquon Preserve and south pool of the Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources and Ducks Unlimited also were represented.

“And we can use that band data to hopefully determine how many birds are out there,” Hagy said.

Last spring, blood samples were taken from a few birds to get an idea of whether the birds were putting on fat (good) or burning fat (not so good).

Some physical characteristics, such as poor body condition, could be misleading because they could be due to lack of good habitat on the wintering grounds, not the supply of food available along the Illinois River.

“The neat thing about measuring metabolites is that it gives you an index of lipid change based on very recent food intake and food processing,” Hagy said. “So (the results probably are related to) what has happened either in the wetland where they are feeding right now or where they were hours before — so probably in the Illinois River Valley.”

Hagy said a grant is pending that would allow scientists to conduct additional blood work in the future.

In addition to measuring metabolites, they want to know if any contaminates are in the birds’ bodies or bloodstream.

“Contaminants are not only in the blood, but also in tissue samples,” Hagy said. “There are a number of environmental contaminates that affect body conditions like selenium and some hydrocarbons.”

If the project is funded, the Forbes Station will be cooperating with eco-toxicologist Jeff Levengood of the University of Illinois.

Coming soon

With this spring’s banding complete, scientists will turn their attention to determining what types of foods are available for migrating scaup.

Despite cold conditions and a sharp wind Wednesday, Hagy said staff members were out conducting behavior observations and taking food samples from wetlands.

Scientists want to know if the scaup are feeding more often than they are resting or if they are engaging in courtship behaviors, for example.

Hagy said more birds use Pool 19 on the Mississippi River because there are more snails, mussels, aquatic vegetation and tubers, foods diving ducks prefer.

Still, more and more scaup are taking advantage of the Illinois River Valley and its managed backwater wetlands.

“There are a lot of scaup here,” Hagy said. “We are catching 200-400 per day and we are only getting 10-20 recaptures, so there are a ton of birds out there.

Chris Young can be reached at (217) 788-1528. Follow him at

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

Next entry: Sequester could hold back funds for fish, wildlife

Previous entry: Spring trout season open April 6

Log Out

RSS & Atom Feeds

Prairie State Outdoors
PSO on Facebook
Promote Your Page Too

News Archives

August 2019
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31
Copyright © 2007-2014 GateHouse Media, Inc.
Some Rights Reserved
Original content available for non-commercial use
under a Creative Commons license, except where noted.
Creative Commons