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Discovery For Recovery: An International Pintail Recovery Initiative

Field Methods: Capture And Marking Of Pintails

Rocket net trapping site baited with grain to attract pintails. We will employ rocket-fired capture nets, or swim-in bait traps, to capture our sample of pintails. View a short (~1.2 MB mpg) rocket-net video. We will fit 6 adult females with satellite transmitters (PTTs) at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in New Mexico, 10 each at Buffalo Lake NWR and Matagorda Island Wildlife Management Area in Texas, and 30 in the Sacramento Valley of California (Sacramento and Sacramento River NWRs, Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area, and perhaps private lands), starting in November 2001. We will track these birds through June 2002.
Trapping occurs during the hunting season when ducks are concentrated and more easily attracted to trap sites using bait (corn, wheat, rice, etc.). We will use similar trapping methods in California, Texas, and New Mexico. We will select specific trap sites proportionate to distribution of pintails on these areas within constraints imposed by weather, road conditions, access rights to private lands, and the number of trap sites our crew can maintain. Successful rocket net catch of pintails.
Backpack PTTs are attached with teflon ribbon. We will select specific trap sites on NWRs, SWAs, and private lands proportionate to distribution of pintails on these areas within constraints imposed by weather, road conditions, access rights to private lands, and the number of trap sites our crew can maintain. Each trapped female pintail we use for the study will be fitted with a backpack PTT attached with a teflon ribbon harness.
Each trapped female pintail we use for the study will be fitted with a backpack PTT attached with a teflon ribbon harness. The back-pack PTTs weigh about 20 grams (less than 3% of body mass; model PTT100 from Microwave Telemetry, Inc.). All PTTs have the same frequency, which is classified as ultra high, but have individual identification numbers assigned by Service Argos (see Satellite Tracking). Captive pintails outfitted with radio transmitters.
Hand release of PTT-marked pintail hens with males which had been trapped at the same time. Microwave Telemetry has programmed the PTTs with a basic "duty cycle" of 5 hr/day every 3rd day during the active migration period. The PTTs have been programmed to last through June 2002. This covers the entire spring migration period and the period during which pintails settle to nest.

Trapped pintails are released at the trapping site after attachment of the PTTs. We trap and retain males along with the females during the marking process and then release all birds together.


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