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Nature & You Lecture Series: Sleuthing Into the Secret Lives of Wood Ducks

Sleuthing into the secret lives of wood ducks – new research reveals a complex underworld of a unique California bird.

Please join Dr. John Eadie, Dennis G. Raveling Professor in Waterfowl Biology at UC Davis to hear about the natural history, ecology, and conservation of this interesting and beautiful local bird!

Biologists have studied the charismatic wood duck for well over a century. What more could we possibly learn? As it turns out, quite a bit. New technology is revealing a rich and complex social underworld that is proving to be quite astonishing. Dr. Eadie’s team are employing automatic logging devices (passive integrated transponders, or PIT tags) that record every nest site a female visit, and population-wide genetic analyses of all breeding females and their offspring to follow the breeding behavior and entire life histories of wood ducks on several sites in California. The focus is on a particularly curious nesting behavior whereby females lay eggs in the nests of other females in the same population (termed conspecific brood parasitism or CBP). Females in a wide variety of bird species lay their eggs in the nests of other conspecifics but despite its widespread occurrence the factors that promote parasitic nesting behavior remain poorly understood, in part because the sneaky parasitic females are rarely identified, but also because the information needed to assess the possible benefits of this behavior are often lacking. Are these females friends or foe? Does this behavior add or detract from the survival of females and their young, or the sustainability of the population? New studies are providing some new insights and, in some cases, surprising us with the wide range of behavioral interactions among females in this enigmatic species of cavity-nesting duck.

Dr. John Eadie is a Professor and the Dennis G. Raveling Chair in the Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology at the University of California Davis. He joined the faculty at UC Davis in 1995 from the University of Toronto where was an Associate Professor in Biology.  Prior to that, he completed his PhD degree in Zoology at the University of British Columbia. His research interests include the ecology, conservation and management of waterfowl and wetlands. His current work focuses on the management and conservation of wetland habitats, breeding waterfowl (mallards and wood ducks) in California, and linking ecological theory to wildlife management and conservation. He uses a combination of experimental and observational field studies, molecular genetic techniques in the lab, and population modeling approaches in his research.

This lecture will be ONLINE in a Zoom meeting.  You must register on this page (be sure to include your email address) and download Zoom. (There is no need to create an account.) After registering, participants will be sent an email with the meeting ID and password.  After the lecture, you will be able to ask questions via Zoom’s chat feature.

Questions? Contact Bill Grabert at bgrabert@tuleyome.org

This lecture is part of the monthly “Nature and You” lecture series sponsored by Tuleyome.  Tuleyome is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit conservation organization based in Woodland, California. The word “Tuleyome” (pronounced too-lee-OME-ee) is a Lake Miwok Indian word that means “deep home place”. And that term “deep home place” exemplifies our deep connection to our environment, our communities and our regional public lands.

Note: All participants agree to abide by the terms and conditions of Tuleyome’s waiver of liability which can be seen and downloaded HERE. All participants also understand that photographs will be taken at the event. If you do not wish to be photographed, you must tell the photographer and avoid the cameras’ line of sight.

A $10 donation to Tuleyome is suggested, but is not required to participate in this event.


Starts 7:00 pm
Ends 9:00 pm
Location Online in a Zoom meeting. Registration required for link.
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