Methods

Between 2003 and 2006, Mass Audubon staff conducted extensive aerial surveys (visual counts from small aircraft) of the Sound to identify areas used by sea ducks during daylight hours.   Because the vast majority of long-tailed ducks are absent from the Sound during the day, Mass Audubon subsequently partnered with USGS on a satellite tracking study to gather information about nighttime roosting locations in winter 2007-2009.

We surgically implanted satellite transmitters into 32 long-tailed ducks and plotted the locations of 19 individuals, for which we had sufficient data, in and around Nantucket Sound. We also followed the movements of several individuals into the breeding season and beyond, and conducted DNA analyses to learn more about the origin and genetics of this unusually large population of long-tailed ducks.