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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes
STOCKTON FWO: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Southwest Region Assists with Canadian Waterfowl Banding Program at Last Mountain Lake NWA.
Region 8, September 1, 2009
Julie Wolford displays a male Northern pintail which was banded at the LMLNWA in August. (photo: USFWS)
Julie Wolford displays a male Northern pintail which was banded at the LMLNWA in August. (photo: USFWS) - Photo Credit: n/a
A male mallard with a new federal band on its left tarsus (photo: USFWS)
A male mallard with a new federal band on its left tarsus (photo: USFWS) - Photo Credit: n/a
Zac Jackson releases a blue-wing teal at Last Mountain Lake National Wildlife Area in Saskatchewan (photo: Zac Jackson, USFWS).
Zac Jackson releases a blue-wing teal at Last Mountain Lake National Wildlife Area in Saskatchewan (photo: Zac Jackson, USFWS). - Photo Credit: n/a
Ducks are captured  in a swim in trap before being processed and banded by the crew at the LMNWA (photo: USFWS)
Ducks are captured  in a swim in trap before being processed and banded by the crew at the LMNWA (photo: USFWS) - Photo Credit: n/a

By Zac Jackson and Julie Wolford, Stockton FWO  

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in cooperation with the Canadian Wildlife Service conducted waterfowl trapping and banding operations in Canada during 2009, the sixth consecutive year.  The USFWS assisted at nine banding stations located in three provinces:  Willow Lake, Mills Lac, Stagg River and Wood Buffalo in Northwest Territories (NWT); Utikima Lake, Brooks and Medicine Hat in Alberta (AB);  and Cochin, and Last Mountain Lake in Saskatchewan (SK). 

 

Traditionally, two USFWS employee volunteers from each region assist with the trapping and banding efforts.  This year, the Region 8 Fish Biologist Zac Jackson and Biological Science Technician Julie Wolford of the Stockton Fish and Wildlife Office were selected to participate in the banding operation.  

 

Jackson and Wolford joined other USFWS biologists from Nevada, South Dakota, Maryland, and Colorado to trap and band waterfowl at Last Mountain Lake National Wildlife Area (LMLNWA) in Saskatchewan, Canada.    The banding and trapping station consisted of 24 swim-in traps baited with barley and checked daily.  From August 2-27, 5,291 ducks were banded during 532 trap nights (9.9 ducks/trap night), including 2,945 mallards, 1,486 blue-winged teal, 694 redheads and 132 northern pintails.  An additional 200 mallards and 200 blue-winged teal were processed and banded for the Canadian Wildlife Service as part of Avian Influenza monitoring, bringing the total to 5,691 ducks captured (10.6 ducks/trap night).  The component of immature ducks banded in 2009 (15.1%) was similar to 2008 (12.6%).  This was the sixth year of preseason waterfowl banding at LMLNWA. 

 

The LMLNWA was established in 1887 to protect migratory birds. Its 15,600 hectares (60.2 square miles) consists primarily of native and altered grasslands, wetlands, and agricultural fields.  The LMLNWA is adjacent to the north end of Last Mountain Lake which serves the region as both an important watershed and recreational fishery. The National Wildlife Area is an important breeding ground for more than 100 different species of birds, some of which are unique to the prairie region.  It was the first federal bird sanctuary reserved in North America. More recently, LMLNWA was recognized as a "Wetland of International Importance" along with 30 other sites in Canada and over 700 locations worldwide.  The National Wildlife Area consists of good waterfowl habitats and is strategically located in the heart of the central flyway of North America.  Last Mountain Lake is an important resting and feeding stopover for hundreds of thousands of birds travelling across the Great Plains between their northern breeding grounds and their southern wintering grounds

 

The USFWS’s commitment to these activities is the result of international treaties and agreements with the resource agencies of Canada and Mexico and the Flyway Councils.  The survey and banding program is a long-term operational monitoring effort and is critical for assessing the status of migratory birds. 

 

Contact Info: Paul Cadrett, 209-946-6400 x 312, paul_cadrett@fws.gov