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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

Geese Bird Banding Continues with Help from Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge Staff

Region 3, July 2, 2013
Team work in the goose capture pen keeps everyone busy and makes quick work of the banding, recapture and recording process.
Team work in the goose capture pen keeps everyone busy and makes quick work of the banding, recapture and recording process. - Photo Credit: n/a
The Muscatatuck Crew happy after banding 360 geese and handling 293 recaptures for a total of 653 geese caught at three sites in Indiana.
The Muscatatuck Crew happy after banding 360 geese and handling 293 recaptures for a total of 653 geese caught at three sites in Indiana. - Photo Credit: n/a

On June 25, 2013, five Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge interns and Partners for Fish and Wildlife Biologist Knowles helped band geese at three sites in Clark and Floyd Counties. The state waterfowl biologist Phelps and two Indiana Department of Natural Resources technicians joined Indiana Department of Natural Resources District Biologist Winks and four other Indiana Department of Natural Resources employees from Crosley State Fish and Wildlife Area. Together, the group teamed up to band 360 geese and had 293 recaptures. This effort gave Muscatatuck Refuge interns a wonderful field experience and really helped the Indiana Department of Natural Resources be successful with the banding efforts. 653 geese were handled making it a very successful day of banding. The volunteer/interns had a fantastic experience and they learned a lot about waterfowl banding and they proudly showed everyone their badge of honors - goose bites, sore muscles, hot and dirty work, etc.

The banding program carried out by the Indiana Division of Fish and Wildlife is a cooperative effort between the state of Indiana, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Geological Survey through the Bird Banding Laboratory. Some objectives of banding are to learn about production of young, to map the distribution and timing of the harvest and to calculate survival and recovery rates.

Banding typically takes place the last two weeks in June at a time when adults molt their flight feathers and cannot fly and the goslings are not yet able to fly. Birds are driven with boats and people walking them into a funnel trap. The sex of each bird is determined and birds are classified into one of two age classes – gosling (local) or adult - before a band is put on one leg and then they are released. 

Band information is critical to the management of bird populations, and assists biologists in providing optimum hunting opportunities. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Fish and Wildlife has a set goal of banding 2000 Canada geese each June. The bands allow biologist to track migration movements of geese. They also help to determine lifespan. Knowing migration movements can help biologists determine hunting season dates and zones.

Hunters are asked to call a 24-hour toll-free hotline: 
1-800-327-BAND (1-800-327-2263) or online at: www.reportband.gov

Contact Info: Susan Knowles, (812) 522-4352, Susan_Knowles@fws.gov