Author Topic: Preseason Duck Banding Targeted at Local Birds  (Read 12013 times)


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Preseason Duck Banding Targeted at Local Birds
« on: November 06, 2010, 10:36:29 AM »
Each year biologists and cooperators with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish and Wildlife, Waterfowl Ecology and Management Program trap and mark ducks with leg bands.  This program is part of a nationwide monitoring effort for migratory game birds.  In order to facilitate geographic specific recovery and survival rates, preseason duck banding is targeted at local birds.  As such, all duck banding is conducted between July 1 and September 30, before the onset of the majority of the fall migration in October.  The majority of the banding effort is directed at mallards as the population status of mallards drives duck hunting regulations in North America. Considerable effort is also made to trap and band American black ducks and wood ducks as well.  When combined with population and harvest data, banding data provides vital information on the life history, population status and ecology of waterfowl species.  This information is used to guide management decisions and monitor the effects of these decisions.

I have been volunteering for this study since 2001 with the NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife.  It is my payback to the resource and I have found it to be most educational and rewarding.  How does it work?
*  One contacts Ted Nichols, Certified Wildlife Biologist @ 609-628-3218 during the summer
*  "Ted, I have a honey hole that is accessible to trap the birds and would like to volunteer to run the sight with the NJ Biologists"
*  Then in September, you are contacted and the bait site is set up with wire traps that you bait every day or two.
*  When the ducks have found the bait and are consuming it, you close the traps in the evening
*  The next morning, the biologists and yourself meet at the site to band the captured dabblers
*  Each bird is recorded for species - sex and age, Hatch Year or Adult Hatch Year and receives a leg band
*  Think you know how to identify the sex of a Black Duck and it's age?  This is where you get 'Educated'.  Also, how to identify a crossbreed between a Mallard and a Black Duck
*  The bird is then released back into the wild.  Yes, there are birds that return to the trap site for another free breakfast.  They are recorded as 'Recaptures'

Each Trap and Banding Site is run during the month of September.  Then the results of all the sites is compiled into a report that is sent to the US Fish & Wildlife Service in Maryland.

Here are some selected pictures that I took recording my experiences over the past 6 years as a volunteer ...

All traps are marked with this sign

Mrs Dingler's backyard in Cape May County

Biologist Nathan and I spending a long time banding the birds from Mrs Dingler's backyard

Biologist Linda extracting a stubborn Mallard at Manasquan... they don't all easily 'march' into the transfer trap for banding!

My Granddaughter, Shea, ready to release a banded bird ... Youth are the Future of Waterfowling!

Left to Right: Biologist Kate - NJWA Member Allen and Biologist Trevor ... Performing the Banding Process 

And these are some pictures of all the activity when there is a rocket net capture.  The procedures are:
*  When a site shows signs of a large number of dabblers, a false net is erected, laying on the ground, with a line of corn placed about 5 feet in front of the net
*  The baited false net is left for several days to let the birds become familiar to the bait site.  The site is watched in the early morning to determine the approximate number of birds that come from their roosting locations to the site
*  Then the biologists determine the morning for the Big Bang!
*  We all arrive in the early morning way before sun up and erect the real net on steel poles with multiple powder charges inside steel tubes.  All the powder charges are wired to a detonator.  Again a strong bait line of cracked is placed about 5 feet along the length of the net.  Cracked corn is used to hold the birds on the bait line longer.  Then we all 'get lost' to cover, binoculars in hand and wait ...
*  Off their roosting sites, the ducks swim and fly to the site.  They are usually skittish and stay in the water away from the shore line.  This one morning, they really stayed away from the shore line because a red fox was running back and forth looking for a free meal.  Luckily, the fox departed. 
*  Then there is always one duck that can't wait to get to the feed.  It rushes out of the water and starts running to the corn ... then the rest of the birds in the water follow suit ...
*  Watching from a distance, when the majority of the birds are on the corn line feeding ... the head biologist says by radio transmitter ... NOW!
Then all of us scurry like mad to the site and here's what it looks like:

Obviously based on the Large Smoke Cloud, the Rockets are ignited using the Real Deal ... Black Powder!

Rounding up the 'Troops'.  Note the rocket laying in front of the orange transfer box

From under the net, the birds are retrieved and put into transfer boxes for banding

Then the banding work begins.  Mr Green Shirt is Ted Nichols, NJ Div F&W Certified Biologist, who has been a good friend to NJWA!

The ONLY Widgeon captured in the 2010 NJ Study. Pat, NJWA Member and Myself

Of approximately 120 dabblers that came to the rocket net bait site this day, 81 were captured, banded or recorded as Recaptures.
There even was a banded Mallard from a PA private banding organization 

« Last Edit: November 10, 2014, 05:01:38 PM by Meadowmucker »


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Re: Preseason Duck Banding Targeted at Local Birds
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2010, 03:54:27 PM »
Great Pictures and a great program!!  Hopefully the volunteers will come pouring in!


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Re: Preseason Duck Banding Targeted at Local Birds
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2015, 06:09:58 AM »
Hello everyone, my name is Diego Nice to meet you.


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Re: Preseason Duck Banding Targeted at Local Birds
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2018, 10:02:05 PM »
 right direction to get some help training my dog. I am new to waterfowling but have


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Re: Preseason Duck Banding Targeted at Local Birds
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2019, 02:04:29 AM »
I want to join


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Re: Preseason Duck Banding Targeted at Local Birds
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2019, 02:58:59 AM »
Is a wonderful thing


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Re: Preseason Duck Banding Targeted at Local Birds
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2020, 11:36:40 PM »
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Re: Preseason Duck Banding Targeted at Local Birds
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2020, 03:59:43 AM »
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