Home
Field Notes
 
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
KODIAK: Surveying Birds off Afognak and Sea Duck Banding
Alaska Region, December 17, 2010
Print Friendly Version
Molting Harlequin Ducks captured and banded by Kodiak NWR in August 2010. (Photo by Will Deacy, FWS)
Molting Harlequin Ducks captured and banded by Kodiak NWR in August 2010. (Photo by Will Deacy, FWS) - Photo Credit: n/a
The Kodiak Refuge 2010 waterbird survey and duck banding team, from left: Robin Corcoran, Darren Bruning, Dave Sinnett, and Will Deacy. (Photo by Jeff Lewis, USFWS)
The Kodiak Refuge 2010 waterbird survey and duck banding team, from left: Robin Corcoran, Darren Bruning, Dave Sinnett, and Will Deacy. (Photo by Jeff Lewis, USFWS) - Photo Credit: n/a
A pair of Marbled Murrelets displaying in Blue Fox Bay adjacent to Kodiak NWR in August 2010. (Photo by David Sinnett, USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services)
A pair of Marbled Murrelets displaying in Blue Fox Bay adjacent to Kodiak NWR in August 2010. (Photo by David Sinnett, USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services) - Photo Credit: n/a

This August, Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge staff and volunteers surveyed waters along the coast of Afognak Island and captured and banded molting sea ducks from Afognak Island southwest to Uyak Bay on Kodiak Island.

Biologists conducted skiff-based surveys of most of the coastline from Foul to Blue Fox Bays including the entire shoreline of Ban Island as part of a long-term waterbird monitoring program. The Refuge research vessel, the Ursa Major II was used as the base of operations for both the surveys and the duck banding. During surveys all birds seen within 200m of shore were counted and additional randomly selected off-shore transects were surveyed as well.  Refuge biologist Robin Corcoran observed that Marbled Murrelets were one of the most commonly seen species; the largest flock was almost 200 birds near the Southeast corner of Ban Island. The other most commonly counted species included Glaucous-winged Gulls, Black-legged Kittiwakes, Harlequin Ducks, and Pigeon Guillemots.

In addition, Refuge biologists have been banding Harlequin Ducks around the island since the mid-1990s. This season we captured 148 Harlequin Ducks including 15 birds banded by the Refuge in previous years. The sea duck banding program is expanding to include Barrow’s Goldeneye and this season we captured 56 molting Goldeneye at Blue Fox Bay on Afognak Island. The 15 species of sea ducks are the most poorly understood group of waterfowl in North America because of the remoteness of their northern breeding and wintering sites. For most species we lack basic information on natural history, population indices, or estimates of annual survival.  Through the banding program the Refuge hopes to gather information on migratory patterns and harvest rates.

This year’s crew consisted of Refuge staff including biologist Robin Corcoran, vessel operator Jeff Lewis, and volunteer Will Deacy. We also had US Department of Agriculture biologists David Sinnett and Darren Bruning on board to help with surveys and skiff operation and to sample the captured ducks for the USDA Wildlife Services’ avian influenza program. We were also joined by the Kodiak Refuge Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) for a day of duck captures. The YCC participants were Kodiak High School students who got to spend a night aboard the Refuge research vessel and were given an opportunity to learn how to handle, measure, and band ducks.

 


Contact Info: Robin Corcoran, 907-487-0229, robin_corcoran@fws.gov



Send to:
From:

Notes:
Find a Field Notes Entry

Search by keyword

Search by State




Search by Region


US Fish and Wildlife Service footer