The South River, located in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, was polluted with mercury by industry in the early 1900s. Extensive wildlife research has been conducted on the South River by various research partners, as part of the collaborative South River Science Team.
Between 2006 and 2008, BRI conducted a waterfowl contaminant study on the South River, Virginia. We chose to study the Mallard Duck (Anas platyrhynchos), since it was a common breeding bird throughout the river and floodplains, and has been studied extensively in lab based mercury affects studies.
Our objectives included:
Prior to the egg laying period, we constructed wire walk-in traps and placed them along areas of the South River were we observed Mallard Duck pairs. Traps were checked twice a day. Captured ducks were extracted and blood and feather samples collected before the birds were released. We attached a radio transmitter to each adult female Mallard Duck we captured in order to track birds to their nests and collect the eggs.
We trapped 109 adult Mallard Ducks and collected 285 eggs.
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