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A lift-net method for capturing diving and sea ducks


  • Associate Editor: Haukos.


Alternatives to bait-trapping waterfowl are often necessary when studying health or body condition, when targeting species that are not easily attracted to bait or those that occur in deep-water habitats where bait-trapping can be difficult. We designed an active netting method for capturing diving and sea ducks, which we deployed at 8 sites in Lake Ontario, Canada from 2006 to 2007 and 2011 to 2012. A mist net suspended horizontally 0.5 m below the water surface was lifted out of the water when ducks swam over the capture area. The technique requires a stationary structure to anchor one end and is lifted out of the water by hand or using a vehicle on the non-anchored end using attached ropes. We used structures including docks and walls of a shipping channel to secure ropes, but other structures could be used. Catch rates were 0.63 birds/hr for greater scaup (Aythya marila), and 0.65 birds/hr for long-tailed ducks (Clangula hyemalis). In comparison, catch rates for floating mist nets were 0.08 birds/hr and 0.86 birds/hr for greater scaup and long-tailed ducks, respectively. Equipment costs to build a lift-net were 85% less than to build a floating mist net. © 2013 The Wildlife Society.