Harlequin Duck citizen science
In 2018 Montana Audubon worked with Glacier National Park, the Glacier National Park Conservancy, and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, to mark breeding pairs of Harlequin Ducks in and around Glacier National Park. Harlequins have experienced declines throughout their range, with the exception of Glacier National Park (an Important Bird Area where more
than 25% of chicks are produced in the state), and we need to understand why.Climate change has been indicated as a significant threat to these birds, given their dependence on the timing of spring runoff, but they are also threatened by having a limited amount of suitable habitat from the outset, along with their sensitivity to human disturbance and habitat loss (due to altered runoff). Marking breeding pairs (implanting males with satellite transmitters, and outfitting females with geolocators) This will help managers answer questions about the species’ biology that are key to understanding home-range characteristics, site fidelity, the timing of seasonal movements,
barriers to dispersal, and more. In 2019 this effort will continue
in Glacier National Park, however our role will be limited helping
recruit and train volunteers.
Surveying and trapping Harlequin Ducks requires a team effort, and each role is crucial to success. Working with Harlequin Ducks requires long days filled with hiking, bushwhacking, rock-hopping, and vigilance along Montana's western mountain streams. Comfort and experience traveling in bear-country and in and around fast-moving water is a must. Efforts to trap, survey, and monitor Harlequin Ducks will take place throughout the summer.
Please email Amy Seaman: firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to join this unique effort.
Click here to download a simple Harlequin Duck creek survey form.
Click here to download, view, or print a Harlequin Duck aging diagram.
Click here to download, view, or print a write-up about our 2017 season.
Any observation that you have of Harlequin Ducks in Montana is valuable information that could support conservation efforts for this species here at home. If you are lucky enough to see one, record the date, time, location, creek name and stretch, stream access information and details about your sighting such as number of birds, sex, age, and behavior. You can download a copy of the survey form above to record the information. Once recorded, click the button above to email us your sightings. We will share them with our project partners as well as the Montana Natural Heritage Program that houses our state's zoological data.