Josh Beuth, a Master’s candidate at the University of Rhode Island is working with the RI Department of Environmental Management, Division of Fish and Wildlife to study the body condition, movement ecology and habitat usage of Common Eiders during winter. During November/December 2011, 26 adult female eider were implanted with satellite transmitters. These birds spent the winter in southern New England before traveling to Maine, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Newfoundland for the spring and summer. On September 3rd, the first of the eiders returned to the Rhode Island wintering grounds after spending her summer in the St. Lawrence Estuary.
Josh provided us with a map tracking her movements, and we’re excited to see the beginnings of a full annual cycle of data on the movements of these birds. Whenever we give a presentation on the annual eider die-offs on Cape Cod, we get numerous questions about where the birds may be congregating during the summer, and where they might be contracting diseases. The sort of tracking data Josh is collecting is just what we’ve been looking for, and we’ll be watching with interest as additional tagged birds make their way down to southern New England for the winter months.
Thanks to Josh for sharing his research with us, and we look forward to seeing more!