Fish and Game and volunteers band ducks in the Panhandle

Another successful year of duck banding recently wrapped up on Panhandle Wildlife Management Areas (WMA).  Over the course of a week, Idaho Fish and Game staff and community volunteers at Boundary Smith Creek, McArthur Lake, and Coeur d’Alene River WMAs were able to put bands on over 700 ducks.  The majority of the waterfowl banded were mallards, but the crew also caught wood ducks, cinnamon teal, green-winged teal, northern pintails, and ring-necked ducks.

Habitat technician banding mallard
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Scott Rulander for IDFG

All of the birds were captured in large swim-in traps that are baited with corn and barley.  Once they are taken out of the trap, they are identified by species, age and sex is recorded, and then they receive their band. 

Collecting ducks from trap
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Scott Rulander for IDFG
Identifying green-winged teal
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Scott Rulander for IDFG

The small, aluminum bands are stamped with a unique eight or nine digit number and hunters who harvest waterfowl or those that find birds incidentally are asked to report those band numbers to the Bird Banding Lab at their website www.reportband.gov  The band recovery data is used to inform biologists on breeding and wintering distribution, survival and reproduction, and migration routes.

Attaching waterfowl leg band
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Scott Rulander for IDFG

There are over 200,000 ducks banded in North America per year and with 700 banded locally, there are a lot of birds out there wearing bracelets. With waterfowl season right around the corner, hunters should make sure to check those duck legs for bling! 

Releasing banded duck
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Scott Rulander for IDFG

The waterfowl season in the North Idaho runs from October 13 - January 25.  Scaup season is November 1 - January 25. Youth, under the age of 18, can hunt September 29 and 30 during the Youth Waterfowl Hunting Weekend with a licensed adult.

Mallard
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Scott Rulander for IDFG