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Following the Rare Harlequins of Northwestern Wyoming

Initial research results show this spectacular duck that summers in northwest Wyoming spends its winters off the coast of British Columbia.

5/31/2018 4:21:21 PM

Jackson - A team of biologists from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, the Biodiversity Research Institute and Grand Teton National Park teamed up to continue exciting new research that is revealing the seasonal travels of the rare harlequin ducks of northwest Wyoming. In late May, a mated pair of harlequins was captured in Grand Teton National Park with the male receiving a surgically implanted GPS transmitter to track its travels for the next two years. The female harlequin was fitted with a geo-locator leg band that will provide less precise data on its whereabouts. Two pairs of the birds were also marked in 2016 and those birds spent the winter off the coast of British Columbia after summering in Grand Teton National Park. Harlequins are one of the rarest breeding birds in the state, inhabiting swift water mountain streams of northwest Wyoming. This is the southeastern-most population of this spectactular duck in western North America. It is designated as a “Species of Greatest Conservation Need” and little information is available on the timing and migration routes, as well as important areas for Wyoming’s harlequin ducks after they depart their breeding streams. These data are needed to manage for the long-term viability of this species in Wyoming and beyond. Funding was provided by the Jackson-based Meg and Bert Raynes Wildlife Fund. 

(Mark Gocke, Public Information Specialist, 307-733-2321)

- WGFD -

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