Highlights from the 2006 Waterfowl Banding Season
Each year the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Canadian Wildlife Service, state, and provincial wildlife agencies band nearly one million migratory birds across North America. Original objectives of banding, or ringing, were to detect specific nesting and wintering areas. Today, duck band recovery data is used primarily to analyze harvest and survival rates. These calculations, in turn, help to determine the impact hunting has on waterfowl populations. When bands recovered by hunters or recaptured by other banders are reported, we can learn the birds' age and where it is at a specific time of the year. Recoveries from hunters can tell us where and when birds from a specific population are being harvested. This is important for monitoring most populations of ducks and geese, but particularly important for species like wood ducks (the species targeted in our banding program). Recent waterfowl banding studies indicate that around 80 percent of the banded birds harvested are reported.
This summer the HAPET staff captured and banded a total of 272 ducks. Two hundred fifteen of the birds were wood ducks. These numbers are down significantly from past years. Low water levels were present at traditional locations as we began operations in early August. Later in the month, several periods of heavy rain flooded most basins. This certainly made for difficult banding conditions in 2006. Potential predation by mink, raccoon and river otter were also greater concerns this past year.
HAPET continued to provide educational outreach through several collateral banding operations. These included: training for several FWS staff and volunteer banders, a community banding event, the Minnesota Waterfowl Association "Woodie Camp", and Fergus Falls ISD 544, 5th grade Prairie Science Class. All activities were in partnership with the Prairie Wetland Learning Center.
Following are links to the above organizations:
Be sure to report all bands you recover. Do this by calling toll-free 1-800-327-BAND (2263) or report them using the Internet at http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/bbl. You will receive a Certificate of Appreciation with information about the bird. The band is yours to keep!