Waterfowl Band Trivia

Discussion in 'Waterfowl Hunting' started by FroMan, Jan 10, 2011.

  1. Stole this off another mb. It's pretty cool.

    For waterfowl hunters, duck and goose bands are among the most treasured mementos of the hunt. Killing a banded bird is a special thrill, and wearing a lanyard of bands around your neck is a symbol of status.

    The value and importance of waterfowl bands far exceeds that of mere jewelry, however. The hunters who harvest birds and report their bands play a vital role in the conservation of North America's waterfowl populations. And the reports not only provide interesting insight into the lives of waterfowl, but also hopefully foster a much greater appreciation for our quarry.

    Since 1914, the mallard has been the most commonly banded waterfowl species. Through 2004, more than 6.2 million mallards had been banded. The Canada goose is second on the list, with more than 2.8 million birds banded. Surprisingly, the blue-winged teal is third at 1.4 million birds banded. Large numbers of blue-winged teal are captured along with mallards on the prairies and thus are banded in higher numbers than other duck species.

    The West Indian whistling duck is the least commonly banded waterfowl species. Only 39 of these birds have been banded during the last 90 years. Among northern-breeding species, the black scoter is the least often banded: only 340 have been banded to date. The remoteness of the black scoter's breeding range in northern Canada and Alaska has made it difficult for waterfowl biologists to capture and band this species.

    Bands have been recovered 2.3 million times from a total of 16 million banded waterfowl.

    According to a 1957 issue of Ducks Unlimited Quarterly, a trout tagged by Wyoming biologists and a merganser banded in the same state turned up together in a most unusual situation. A California biologist making a wildlife food study obtained the merganser after it had been shot by a hunter. In the bird’s stomach was a tag from one of the Wyoming trout.

    A band placed on the leg of a pintail in Canada’s Northwest Territories was recovered from the stomach of an American alligator in Florida’s Orange Lake 13 months later.

    Dr. Stan Chace of Alturas, California, seemingly defied all odds way back in the fall of 1962. Chace bagged a banded Canada goose in October, and shot another banded Canada in December. When he compared the bands, Chace found them to be consecutively numbered—the first 518-31661 and the second 518-31662. The birds were banded three years earlier at Goose Lake.

    In the 1950s, biologists used retrievers to catch young mallards for banding on the nesting grounds in Canada.

    One black duck drake was captured 18 times during a nine-year span in the waterfowl banding traps of the Michigan Department of Conservation. An adult when first trapped and banded in 1949, the duck successfully eluded hunters and wildlife predators for 10 years. Caught in a trap on January 31, 1958, the bird’s original leg band, which was worn thin with age, was replaced.

    A pintail banded on September 2, 1940, in Athabasca County of northern Alberta eluded hazards until January 1954 when it was shot near Naucuspana, Tabasco, Mexico. Considering the 3,000 miles between band site and death, and assuming the bird made the two-way migration each year for 13 years, the pintail would have logged nearly 80,000 migration miles alone during its lifetime.

    Acquiring one bird band a season ranks right up there. But how about two, on consecutive shots, on the same day? That's what happened to Howard Ewart on November 23, 1996, when he shot a pair of mallard drakes (1007-31302) and (1337-79713) while hunting on the Big Horn River near Thermopolis, Wyoming. Also living a charmed existence was Jack Needles, who, on December 24, 1992, bagged a drake black duck (1287-82810) and a hen mallard (1287-82870) near Stone Harbor, New Jersey. The birds arrived as a pair.


    Duck and goose bands have become collectibles. And perhaps none are more treasured than those originating from the Jack Miner Bird Sanctuary in Kingsville, Ontario. The late Jack Miner founded the sanctuary in 1904 to provide a refuge for migratory birds. He banded his first wild duck in 1909 and in 1915 started banding Canada geese. That same year, Miner added a verse of Biblical scripture to his bands. By 1944, 50,000 wild ducks had been banded at the sanctuary, along with 40,000 Canada geese.

    The tradition continues today. In 2005 alone, hunters from 23 states, Ontario and Saskatchewan reported harvesting waterfowl with Miner bands. By comparison, the U.S. government's bird banding program was initiated in 1920. Since then, more than 23 million birds have been tagged, making the federal bands much more common.

    Tom Kowa of Sacramento, California, shot a female Ross's goose in January 2000, and a neck-collared male in January 2002. Both birds were shot on Pond 6 at Colusa National Wildlife Refuge, and both were banded by the same individual eight years apart.

    Information on life span is collected every time a banded bird is reported to the Bird Banding Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland. And the record ages for some duck species may surprise you.

    Canvasback, 29 years, 6 months
    Black duck, 26 years, 5 months
    Mallard 26 years, 4 months
    Blue-winged teal, 23 years, 3 months
    Redhead, 22 years, 7 months
    Wood duck, 22 years, 6 months
    Northern pintail, 22 years, 3 months
    American wigeon, 20 years, 11 months
    Ring-necked duck, 20 years, 5 months
    Green-winged teal, 20 years, 3 months
  2. BDW

    BDW Premium Member<br>Merganser Slayer<br>2011 Turkey


  3. snydedawg

    snydedawg Well-Known Member

    Now that's the kind of stuff I get on this site to read.

    Most excellent post brother..... thanks.
  4. coonnutz

    coonnutz Well-Known Member

    Thanks for sharing:up:
  5. Rebel

    Rebel Well-Known Member

    I never would have thought a duck to live that long. Good post.:up:
  6. xdamagexx

    xdamagexx Member<br>2011-2012 Bowhunting Contest Team Winner

  7. NWA Bowhntr

    NWA Bowhntr Well-Known Member

    Great thread!! I never knew ducks could live that long!!
  8. BIG DOG

    BIG DOG Member-2018 Spring Team Turkey Contest Winner

    didn't they have the goose age records as well? i thought i read where a snow goose was close to 30yrs old when it was harvested
  9. MollyWhop

    MollyWhop Well-Known Member

    20+ year old ducks? That is crazy. Think about how many different decoy spreads and duck calls they will have heard in their lifetime? Makes sense why it can be extremely tough at times to kill much.
  10. cool.....how about the guy who got the consecutive numbered bands canada's two months apart? I would have to say you would have better odds at winnning the lottery than doing this.
  11. maddog3

    maddog3 Member

    Had a friend killed 2 woodies with 1 shot. 1 was banded and it just so happens it was on his birthday:thumb:
  12. green_head_getter

    green_head_getter Super Member<br>2010 Bowhunting Contest Winner

    I have 3 or four that are within 2 or 3 numbers of each other. Canadas that is. Killed a few weeks apart. We killed 15 canadas last year in one hunt and all 15 were banded. That was pretty awesome. How about them ducks age!!! And I thought my buddy's 9 year old mallard was cool
  13. City park? :head: There's all kinds of banded geese out at Lake Dardanelle State Park. Just wondering. :up:

  14. green_head_getter

    green_head_getter Super Member<br>2010 Bowhunting Contest Winner

    Nope they Band a bunch of em on a lake near some property I hunt. Most of the geese have bands. Just so happens about 300 of em were feeding daily in one of our fields. You could set your watch by it. 9:07 they top the hill out front and lock in. We also killed some that were 10 numbers apart about 10 miles farther away on another field. Good times last year. Killed 26 bands. Not much to brag about considering it's resident birds. We joke about how we demolished that guys life work all in the matter of a month haha
  15. Ozone

    Ozone Well-Known Member

    Were you hunting at Bass Pro Shops?

    BAYOU BANDIT Well-Known Member

  17. Scritch

    Scritch Well-Known Member

    X 3:up:
  18. That was very interesting! Thanks for the thread...:up:
  19. SwampCat

    SwampCat Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

    Great info - really enjoyed the information. I spent some time at Delta NWR below the jump on the Mississippi, in Louisiana near Venice. Banded a bunch of Bluewings there. Dang coons would get in the traps and run them ragged during the night - the coons killed a bunch of the teal - just happened to be their last supper. I can remember my dad killing a mallard with a band on the Mississippi River, near lake Pepin, in Minnesota, back in 1961. From that point on, even today, every step towards a downed duck, or every stroke by the dog returning with a duck in his mouth, the anticipation builds - can't wait to look at those legs to see if they are sporting some jewelry. Killed a lot of bands back in the late 1970's when I hunted eastern Lousiana. I hunt SW AR now and I don't think the percentage of banded ducks is near as high over here - I think we pull quite a few birds from the central flyway. Anyway, my son and I once calculated we were collecting one band per 800 - 900 ducks killed. Very low ratio. I have killed one this year - Thanksgiving Day!
  20. No-till Boss

    No-till Boss Well-Known Member

    I have a Jack Miner band, and all the paper work that goes with it.