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Duck Banding at the Bird Sanctuary PDF Print E-mail
Written by Lisa Duke   
Friday, 16 August 2013 17:46

Recent visitors to the Sanctuary may have spotted a new contraption in the waters of Wintergreen Lake.  Just opposite the lagoon, visitors can see raised platforms covered with a cage.    If you’re lucky, you may even see some ducks taking a nibble on corn.   They are for trapping ducks so that the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Biologists can place an identification band on the ducks!  

A mallard showing off its new band.

The cages, once banding is completely under way, allow easy access to the bait, but no way out.   Once a duck is caught, MI DNR biologists will come and take data on the bird, band it, and release it on its way.  Bands are usually made of metal, contain a unique identification number, and are designed to fit the bird so as to prevent injury or loss of bands.   The traps are monitored daily for duck activity to minimize the time in traps for the waterfowl.

Duck being banded

Biologists attaching a band to a duck's leg.

Now, why go through all that trouble to band ducks?   Well, banding is a great way to collect data on duck populations.  The MI DNR biologists will be trying to gather information on the Sanctuary’s resident ducks: mallards and wood ducks.  Banding usually occurs in late summer-early fall, to avoid catching recent hatchlings.  We hope visitors will enjoy this chance to see wildlife science in action!  

Wood Duck
One of the duck species we hope to catch, the Wood Duck.  (Photo Credit: Larry Burdick)

To learn more about waterfowl banding and other waterfowl management:

To report a band online:
Report Band