Lesser scaup (Aythya affinis) winter in the Grand Calumet River-Indiana Harbor Canal (GCR-IHC) drainage into southern Lake Michigan, a polluted oasis in the highly urban and industrial corridor of northern Illinois and Indiana. The GCR-IHC is an important wintering area for lesser scaup in northwestern Indiana, especially after Lake Michigan freezes, because of the lack of other wildlife habitat in the area. We investigated the feeding and movement patterns of these wintering lesser scaup to better understand the ecological significance of this area to wintering waterfowl and to interpret contaminant levels in these lesser scaup. We implanted radio transmitters in 20 individuals in January 1994 and tracked them until early March 1994. Four lesser scaup disappeared and four died within the first 2 weeks after implantation; 12 lesser scaup remained in the GCR-IHC for the next 6-7 weeks. Individual radio-marked scaup (n = 12) were located in the GCR-IHC on an average of 62.2% (extreme values = 25-87%) of the searches. No radio-marked lesser scaup were located outside the GCR-IHC. Lesser scaup were feeding during 23% of the radio fixes.
Additional publication details
Movement patterns of wintering lesser scaup in Grand Calumet River - Indiana Harbor Canal, Indiana