The Importance of Duck Banding
Have you ever shot a banded duck? If you have, count yourself as lucky because fewer than one out of 1,000 ducks wear “jewelry.” Duck bands are coveted by waterfowl enthusiasts. As tradition goes, most waterfowlers clamp the bands on their lanyard and proudly wear them on their future hunts. Maybe some wouldn’t admit it, but there is certainly some “sizing up” that goes on at duck camp when a hunter walks up with a lanyard full of duck bands—it can be intimidating.
Waterfowlers who harvest a banded duck and rightfully report the band information play a significant role in the conservation of waterfowl populations. Once reported, the band information provides important insights regarding the waterfowl harvested, and that data collected is crucial to the proper management of ducks and geese.
Ducks Unlimited CEO Dale Hall explains how bird banding programs increase our understanding of waterfowl populations and their habitats:
From the Arctic Circle to the Gulf Coast of Louisiana, tens of thousands of waterfowl are marked each year with bands. Depending upon the climate and season, when banding ducks, the method of capture differentiates. Baited traps, drive traps, nest boxes, net guns, floating mist nets, or rocket nets are the most popular methods of capturing ducks for banding.
Double Banded Ducks – Myths Debunked
Very rarely, waterfowlers harvest a duck with double bands. You’ll hear waterfowlers tell a multitude of stories on how the duck managed to be “double banded,” but usually, one band is a regular band while the other band is either a reward duck band or a special marker. Reward bands were implemented to encourage waterfowlers to call in their bands. The values vary, but the intent is to achieve a higher percentage of bands called in.
Check out Ducks Unlimited TV Episode 4: Big Sky and Banding Part 1 to see an exciting and informative episode of both hunting and a duck banding project:
Learn more about conservation and how you can get involved at ducks.org.