Head and Wing Pro­ject con­tin­ues in 2016

Field and Game Aus­tralia in con­junc­tion with the Univer­sity of New Eng­land’s As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sor Gra­ham Hall will con­tinue the Head and Wing Re­search Pro­ject in 2016.

Field and Game - - NEWS -

It will be the eighth year for the pro­ject which pro­vides vi­tal data to bet­ter in­form the an­nual game sea­son de­ci­sion mak­ing process by the rel­e­vant govern­ment bod­ies

Pro­fes­sor Hall has over 35 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in the man­age­ment of wildlife. He has worked all over the world, and he con­tin­ues to con­sult with var­i­ous govern­ment and pri­vate or­gan­i­sa­tions on wildlife top­ics.

Each duck sea­son, hun­ters col­lect hun­dreds of duck and quail sam­ples and Prof. Hall analy­ses the head and wings from har­vested birds.

“We do it twice a year, at the be­gin­ning of the sea­son in March and at the end of the sea­son which gives us an idea of whether the har­vest changes over the sea­son and sam­ples from across the state give us spa­cial data on whether there are re­gional dif­fer­ences.”

Data is also col­lected where pos­si­ble on the sex of birds be­ing har­vested and for black duck and grey teal the sam­ples pro­vide raw num­bers.

The sam­ples also pro­vide clues as to the cross breed­ing of mal­lards and black duck.

“Mal­lard drakes are very ag­gres­sive and will ac­tu­ally seek out black duck fe­males and we have been record­ing the lev­els of hy­bridi­s­a­tion for some time,” Prof. Hall said.

“What the wing sam­ples are also pro­vid­ing is a way of look­ing at move­ment of birds.”

Sam­ples of meat ants col­lected through­out South East Aus­tralia pro­vide a map of the nat­u­ral vari­a­tion in the oc­cur­rence of sta­ble iso­topes which can then com­pared to sta­ble iso­topes in the feath­ers of har­vested birds.

“You can tell if a bird has moved from an­other area to the area where it was har­vested,” Prof. Hall said.

“What you can’t tell is where else it went in be­tween.”

Prof. Hall will be on the ground with FGA rep­re­sen­ta­tives on Open­ing Day of the Vic­to­rian Duck Sea­son to kick-off this year’s re­search.


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